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Feedback Comments on Thermal Energy

by Ron Kurtus

A total of 376 comments and questions have been sent in. They are listed according to date.

You can read them to further your understanding of the subject.

List of most recent 10 letters




General Properties of good insulators USA
Thermal Potential Energy Confusion on thermal energy USA
Temperature Limits Thoughts on Absolute Zero USA
Temperature Limits Equations Understanding temperature limits equation Brazil
Thermos R-value of a typical Thermos bottle USA
Thermodynamics Entropy definition Canada
Thermos Insulating material used in a simple thermos India
Heat Heating a bar of iron USA
Heat Transfer Heat transfer in house USA
Temperature Limits Equations What is temp. of 120 volts of electricity? USA

Next 10

Properties of good insulators

Topic: General


February 1, 2019

what are some good properties of good insulators.

ruben - USA



Certainly, a good insulator should hinder outside heat transfer (hot or cold). But also, the insulator must not weigh too much or take up too much space.

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Confusion on thermal energy

Topic: Thermal Potential Energy


January 15, 2019

My question is the following:

It has to do with the idea of thermal energy being a sum of both the kinetic and potential energy of a material. Because I am teaching 8th grade Science at the time, I am trying to keep this as simple as possible. However, a student asked if two samples of air (one at approx. 0 Celsius, and the other at approx 27 Celsius) have different amounts of potential energy? After reading more about it, my thought would be no, they would have the same potential energy, just different amounts.

Rebecca - USA



The definitions of thermal kinetic energy and potential energy can be confusing. I updated the whole section to try to clarify issues and make it easier to understand.

What is called Internal Energy is the sum of the Thermal Kinetic Energy and Thermal Potential Energy.

See the updated versions of Thermal Energy is Kinetic Energy and Thermal Potential Energy.

The potential energy of two sample of air at different temperatures would be approximately the same. However, since the atoms or molecules travel faster at the higher temperature, the kinetic or thermal energy would be greater for the higher temperature.

I hope that helps. Best wishes for success in your class.

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Thoughts on Absolute Zero

Topic: Temperature Limits


June 2, 2017

Subject: Energy/Absolute Zero

"At the physically impossible-to-reach temperature of zero kelvin, or minus 459.67 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 273.15 degrees Celsius), atoms would stop moving. As such, nothing can be colder than absolute zero on the Kelvin scale."

However, is there a scale that measures colder than Zero Kelvin (Absolute Zero)?
Lets call that True Absolute Zero (TaZ)

We know that matter is composed of energy and the reversion of matter to energy is the basis of the atomic bomb. If matter is made of energy then is there a scale that measures energy down to its baseline?

An electron volt (eV) is not a baseline value of energy because we measure fractions of eV. Lets call the baseline value of energy an "Eneron".

Every atom has movement within itself on diminishing scales.
Quarks, Leptons and even Bosons have movement in their spins.
Temperature is movement. Frozen means no movement. True Absolute Zero would imply that all movement has stopped.

Energy implies movement. "Its energetic"
At TaZ (True Absolute Zero) wouldn't energy stop? If an Eneron stops, is it no longer energy. Can it restart without another Eneron acting upon it?

"The first law of thermodynamics, also known as Law of Conservation of Energy, states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed; energy can only be transferred or changed from one form to another."

If the Eneron stops it is no longer energy and thus the first law of thermodynamics is wrong.

In the Universe there exists a potential for everything to eventually and completely freeze over time. Everything in existence reaches true absolute zero and all energy stops. With no energy to initiate movement (heat), there is no action to generate more energy.

Thank you

tMic - USA



The requirements for Absolute Zero are not only that atoms stop moving or have zero kinetic energy, but also that their internal potential energy is zero. In reality, the binding forces of the atoms would reach zero, such that the particles would fall apart.

Even Quarks, Leptons, and Bosons would not move or spin.

Matter is really not made of "energy". The energy released in an atomic bomb, such that the mass of the material is reduced, is in the form of electromagnetic radiation or photons. These particles do not have a rest mass, but they do have momentum as they move.

An electron volt is the unit of energy equal to the work done on an electron in accelerating it through a potential difference of one volt.

I hope that gives some explanation. Keep up the good work in creatively looking at these Physics concepts.

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Understanding temperature limits equation

Topic: Temperature Limits Equations


June 16, 2016


I need to know about it 3mc² / 2k, I want to complete it. where I study?

DOUGLAS - Brazil



The temperature of an idea gas is related to velocity: T = 3mv²/4k. When the velocity of the particles approach the speed of light, the equation changes to T = 3mv²/4k. (See Equations for Temperature Limits). Details can be seen at Kinetic Temperature.

But note that there are several other theories related to the maximum temperature, including the Theory of Relativity.

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R-value of a typical Thermos bottle

Topic: Thermos


November 15, 2013

What is the R value of a typical Thermos bottle?

Thank you.

Rich - USA



It would depend on whether the thermos bottle was insulated by a vacuum or some material. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find any specific R-values for the various types of thermos bottles.

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Entropy definition

Topic: Thermodynamics


November 5, 2013

The entropy is such a state of matter that together with temperature defines heat energy. Isn't it more true than bragging about chaos?

Stan - Canada



I think your take on entropy sounds good.

Also, entropy is often defined as a measure of disorder of a system. Chaos seems to be going a step beyond the disorder in entropy, since entropy progresses towards thermodynamic equilibrium.

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Insulating material used in a simple thermos

Topic: Thermos


October 28, 2013

Dear sir,
I am student of engineering. please tell me what type of insulating material used in simple thermos and why that material used.

pavan - India



A simple thermos is made of an insulating material that will inhibit transfer of heat. A Styrofoam cooler is an example of a simple thermos container that prevents outside heat from warming up its contents. Styrofoam does not readily transfer heat.

Other insulators such as loose wool or even newspaper can be used, since their heat transfer is low.

Also see: Thermal Insulation Prevents Heat From Escaping.

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Heating a bar of iron

Topic: Heat


May 2, 2013

i have learned about law of conservation of energy and momentum...according to it if we heat a bar of iron, instead of heating a bit by bit till the end wont it get heated first from the other end?(heat creates vibratory motion)

kritika - USA



For an explanation, see Heat Transfer and Kinetic Theory of Matter.

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Heat transfer in house

Topic: Heat Transfer


December 3, 2012

how can a person heat transfer through your house to use it

Jonquel - USA



Most homes use forced air or convection heat transfer to heat their homes. Some home use radiation plus convection to heat their homes, although it is not as effective.

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What is temp. of 120 volts of electricity?

Topic: Temperature Limits Equations


November 2, 2012

What is temp. of 120 volts of electricity?

Larry - USA



Voltage is electrical potential energy. If you put a wire of very low resistance between the source of 120 volts, it could get so hot that it will melt. Depending on the type of metal and its resistance, you could determine the temperature created by 120 volts. For example, the melting point of copper wire is 1,984° F or 1,085° C.

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