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Why does shiny metal get so hot in the sun

  1. Mar 29, 2014 #1
    I have tools that are made of metal and very reflective and shiny. If shiny objects reflect light waves, how is it that my tools get too hot to touch if I leave them in the sun (in the summer months)? Are the tools absorbing other forms of EM radiation?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 29, 2014 #2
    They feel hot because metals conduct heat really well, so even though other stuff is at the same temperature, the metal feels hotter because heat flows into your hand faster.
  4. Mar 29, 2014 #3
    1st even though they are shiny they still absorb some light (both visible and infrared).

    2nd they have small heat capacity so they warm up fast even if the amount of heat they capture is not very large.

    3rd (and most important) Your skin does not feel the temperature of the objects you touch (you have no nerve endings in the objects). Your skin feels its own temperature. When you touch a hot object heat moves into your skin warming it up giving you the sensation of warmth. Metals are good heat conductors so they allow heat to flow fast into your skin increasing the sensation of warmth. By the way, that's also the reason why metal will feel colder than wood in cold weather.
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