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Radiator radiation. Which way to place clothes horse for the fastest drying?

  1. Jan 20, 2012 #1
    This is not so muc a homework question as settling an argument:

    I have a clothes horse on which clothes can be hung parallel to each other roughly 50 cm apart. I place the clothes horse perpendicular to the radiator so the heat from the radiates along the length of the wet clothes. However my flatmate places the clothes horse parallel to the radiator so the heat must first radiate through one wet garment before getting through to the second garment.

    Can anybody help me with a scientific solution to this question. Any equations for working this out would be good but I'm mainly looking for a description as to which drying configuration would dry the clothes the fastest.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 20, 2012 #2
    What kind of radiator is it? Steam, hot water, electric, or what? How large relative to clothing?

    In the case where the clothing is parallel to the heat source, the material on the far side is receiving less thermal energy in the form of radiation. Some will pass through due to gaps in the weave and some is reradiated by the material closer to the source. So in that instance it would be dependent to a large extent on the weave of the material - threads per square inch like how sheets are rated. If you place the clothing perpendicular to the radiator, you are dealing with shape factors that are considerably less than unity.

    If I had to pick a method based on the cursory information provided, I would choose the parallel method.
  4. Jan 20, 2012 #3


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  5. Jan 21, 2012 #4
    Without knowing the heat source and whether the heater protrudes into the room as in your sketch, it is impossible to determine much about circulation. The question posed concerned radiation so my suspicion is that it may be a resistance heater. Given the information provided, one much consider radiation the heat source and you receive little if the clothing is perpendicular to the source. One would want the shape factor to be the greatest possible. The circulation will occur regardless due to the heating of the clothing due to radiation.
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