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Modeling a simple heating element

  1. Mar 10, 2010 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    Hey Everyone,

    I am working on a physics project in which we need to look at a basic physics model. I have a couple of quick questions regarding conduction and heat generated through a resistor.

    So I basically have a wire acting as a resistor that I want to run current through. (A basic heating element, something similar to the nichrome wire in the rear windshield of a car.) I want to find out how much power needs to be dissipated from the wire in order to melt snow. Where I am getting stuck is trying to figure out how conduction comes into play. The wire would be against the inside of a plastic cover and would be melting snow on the other side of the material.

    From what I understand you can calculate the conduction based on the temperatures of the hot surface and the cold surface. (The inside and outside of the material.) How would I go about relating the power dissipated by the wire with the temperature of the inside of the material. Can I directly relate the power and the energy required to raise the temperature of the wire?

    Also can I use conduction to say how much the ambient temperature would raise on the side of the material with the heating element?


    2. Relevant equations
    Heat flow = kA([tex]\Delta[/tex]T/ Length)
    P = V^2/R
    Energy required to raise the temp of the wire = mq([tex]\Delta[/tex]T)
    Energy required to melt the snow = mq([tex]\Delta[/tex]T) + m(heat of fusion)


    Any input would be appreciated,
    Rob
     
  2. jcsd
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