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Why is it that things feel ''hot''?

  1. Sep 7, 2010 #1
    Does it have to do with the electrons spinning at higher orbitals and emitting Infared radiation?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 7, 2010 #2
    Well it's essentially nerves that are responsible for the feeling of "hot" or "cold".
     
  4. Sep 7, 2010 #3

    DaveC426913

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    IR is one of the three forms of heat transfer. It's radiative.

    Most heat we enocounter when touchung something is conductive - it is simply kinetic energy in the form of agitated atoms bouncing around, i.e. not so much at the electron level.
     
  5. Sep 13, 2010 #4
    Dave is right. When we touch something 'hot' (like a stove) the atoms of the object we are touching have a much higher KE than the atoms in our body. If the KE difference is high enough, the atomic bonds in our body can be permanently altered (destroyed) from the interaction. An example of this is burning your hand on a stove.
     
  6. Sep 13, 2010 #5

    DaveC426913

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    But don't forget - in particular because of the stove example - about radiative heat. That red hot element is putting out a lot of it.
     
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