Thermodynamics: Heat Sink Experiment - 3 Pots vs. 2 Pots

However, the difference in size will not have a large effect on the time to reach equilibrium. In summary, it will take the same amount of time to reach equilibrium in all three pots.
  • #1
First off this is not a homework question that i know of. I'm not in school but I had an idea I want to flesh out but I don't have the training to come up with the answer on my own.
Scenario 1:

There are 2 pots of water the 1st at 100 degrees c and a 2nd at 0 degrees.
There is a heat sink going from the middle of the first to the middle of the second.
It takes 10 minutes to for both pots to reach 50 degrees c.

Scenario 2:
There are 3 pots of water the 1st and 2nd at 100 degrees c and the 3rd at 0 degrees.
There is a heat sink connecting all pots just like above.

The question is will it take the same, more or less time to reach 66 degrees c in all 3 pots as it did in Scenario 1.
Science news on
  • #2
There's a small problem: theoretically, it should take an infinite amount of time for the pots to get to 50 and 66.6 degrees, since the rate of heat transfer decreases as the temperature difference decreases. The final temperature is approached asymptotically but is never reached. However, we can get around this problem by specifying that the temperatures get arbitrarily close to their final temperature (50.1 and 66.7 degrees, for example)

Now we can get on with solving the real question. It may be easiest to solve it numerically; that is, divide the total time into small intervals and for each interval calculate the amount of heat energy that flows through the connection and also calculate how the temperature of the pots is affected by the energy change. Then repeat for the next interval and so on until the temperature has converged satisfactorily. Does this make sense?
  • #3
Sadly it does not make since to me because I have no training in thermodynamics and not much training in math. I'm sorry but can you just tell me weather it will take longer, the same or less time to reach near equilibrium.

Thank you for your help.
  • #4
The process is fastest when the pots are the same size (i.e., equilibrium will be reached faster in scenario 1).

1. What is the purpose of the heat sink experiment?

The purpose of the heat sink experiment is to demonstrate the principles of thermodynamics and heat transfer through a practical demonstration. By comparing the cooling rate of 3 pots versus 2 pots, we can observe the effects of adding an extra heat sink on the overall cooling process.

2. How does the number of pots affect the cooling rate in this experiment?

The number of pots affects the cooling rate by providing more or less surface area for heat to dissipate. In the case of 3 pots, there is more surface area available for heat to transfer from the hot water to the ambient air, resulting in a faster cooling rate compared to 2 pots.

3. What is the role of the heat sink in this experiment?

The heat sink acts as a medium for heat transfer, absorbing excess heat from the water and dissipating it into the surrounding environment. In this experiment, the heat sink is represented by the extra pot, which helps to increase the cooling rate by providing additional surface area for heat to transfer.

4. What factors can affect the cooling rate in this experiment?

The cooling rate can be affected by various factors such as the initial temperature of the water, the ambient temperature, the type of pots used, and the amount of water in each pot. These factors can impact the rate at which heat is transferred and, therefore, affect the overall cooling rate.

5. How does this experiment relate to real-life applications?

This experiment demonstrates the concept of heat sinks, which are commonly used in various applications such as refrigerators, air conditioners, and computer processors. By understanding how the number of heat sinks affects the cooling process, we can better design and improve these everyday technologies.

Suggested for: Thermodynamics: Heat Sink Experiment - 3 Pots vs. 2 Pots