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Silly chem question

  1. Dec 4, 2007 #1
    Hey guys, I have a question about one of the problems on my practice chem exam for which the prof. does not give the answers to. This guy also really likes to use trick questions and so im not sure if this is one or not. I know it is an easy one but I don't want this to be a trick question and fall for it on the test.

    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    Cold flows A.) opposite of heat B.) same direction as heat C.) across thermodynamic boundaries D.) until meeting a boundary E.) None of the above F.) All of the above

    3. The attempt at a solution

    I believe it is none of the above because cold is simply a measure of heat that has less energy than what it is being compared to. Basically, cold is an adjective not a noun therefore it has no flow.

    Am I right about this? Thanks for all the help guys!

  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 4, 2007 #2


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    That looks like the best option to me. Your argument is good.

    What grade/level is this at?
  4. Dec 5, 2007 #3
    It is college undergrad Inorganic Chem. I am a junior but I am a little bit behind (it is generally a sophmore level chem class.) I wouldn't be so concerned with this question but if it is not what he thought the answer was when he wrote the question then he will not give us points for it even with a valid and logically sound reason. Better yet, his wife is the Chairman of the chem dept. so there is nothing the students can do.
  5. Dec 5, 2007 #4


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    The problem with questions that do not use standard scientific terminology (like the use of 'cold' in this case), is that it eventually comes down to guessing what's in the questioner's head.

    A perfectly good answer, by my reckoning, would be: "Cold" does not flow, because I've never found any mention of such a thing in any textbook.

    On the other hand, it would be perfectly reasonable to define a new quantity which is proportional to a heat flux, but with a negative sign in front of it, and call this a coolness flux or some such thing. But no such definition exists currently, in standard physics, so your answer ought to be the correct one.
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