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Heat and Temperature - Thermal expansion concepts
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Overview         (For age - group : Above 16 )

Thermodynamics and heat related phenomenon all depend on temperature. Here is an extensive study of temperature and its measurement. A detailed of temperature scales and issues related to thermometer is undertaken to understand temperature. This animated chemistry topic gives in-depth information about thermometry and is very useful for schools, colleges and industry.

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Thermometry : Animation details the following topics :

  • Measure of hotness,
  • Thermometer parts,
  • Usage of mercury and problems associated with it ?
  • Usage of other liquids
  • Sensitivity
  • Calibration of a thermometer
  • Effect of altitude,
  • Clinical thermometer,
  • Temperature scales C, K, F,
  • Absolute temperature
  • Accuracy and thermometers of today

Explanatory notes section provides certain interesting information

  1. Where can the temperature be taken on the body ?
  2. Which are the other liquids besides mercury that are being used ?
  3. Absolute temperature and ranges of temperature?
  4. Can water be used as a thermometer ?
  5. Which are the other types of thermometer ? Thermocouple, mercury in glass, pyrometer etc.

caliberation of a thermometer
kink or constriction in thermometer
Calibration of a thermometer The purpose of the kink or constriction is to disallow mercury to fall back to the bulb
sentivity of a thermometer
Parts of a thermometer
Sensitivity determination formula of a thermometer
Parts of a thermometer
error in estimation of temperature
It is erroneous to estimate temperature by touch, as it is relative, a hand dipped in ice prior to dipping in normal water will find the water at room temperature warmer than its correct temperature
Details of the animation/ movie /software

What is the difference between a hot cup of coffee and a cold cup of coffee?
Temperature is a measure the hotness of a given body

Measure of hotness can be done simply by touching the body. But it is not a standard method as it is based on an individual's perception and may vary from a person to person and can be injurious if the body that we touch is very hot.

Measure of hotness should not be confused with heat irself.

The difficulty in using the sensation as a measure of hotness arises because of the fact that the terms hot and cold are relative terms and cannot be used in the absolute measurement of hotness.

Often the concepts of heat and temperature are thought to be the same, but they are not.

Perhaps the reason the two incorrectly thought to be the same is because our everyday experience suggests that when one applies heat example : putting a pot of water on the stove, then the temperature of water goes up. More heat, more temperature - so they must be the same, right? this is actually not true.

Heat is a measurement of the total energy in a substance. That total energy is made up of not only of the kinetic energies of the molecules of the substance, but is also made up of their potential energies.

Temperature, when measured in Kelvin degrees, is a number that is directly proportional to the average kinetic energy of the molecules in a substance. So, when the molecules of a substance have a small average kinetic energy, then the temperature of the substance is low. But the potential energy could be high leading to higher heat. Leading to false notion of temperature.

Therefore, there is a need of some standard for the measurement of the hotness of a body. The degree of hotness of a body is called its temperature. It is measured by devices called thermometer

How Does a thermometer work :
A common liquid in glass thermometer takes advantage of the fact that liquids generally expand more than solids as their temperatures increase. The glass envelope of the thermometer contains a fine hollow capillary with a sealed reservoir at its base that's filled with a liquid such as alcohol or mercury. If both the liquid and glass expanded equally as they became warmer, the thermometer would simply change sizes slightly as its temperature increased. But the liquid expands more than the glass and can't simply remain in place. Some of it moves up the capillary. That's why the level of liquid in the thermometer rises as the thermometer's temperature rises.

In 1954 the triple point of water-that is, the point at which the three phases of water (vapor, liquid, and ice) are in equilibrium-was adopted by international agreement as 273.16 K. The triple point can be determined with greater precision than the freezing point and thus provides a more satisfactory fixed point for the absolute thermodynamic scale. In cryogenics, or low-temperature research, temperatures as low as 0.003 K have been produced by the demagnetization of paramagnetic materials. Momentary high temperatures estimated to be greater than 100,000,000 K have been achieved by nuclear explosions (see Nuclear Weapons).

Absolute zero is a theoretical temperature. It is that temperature at which all substances have no heat energy. It is defined as zero Kelvin (0 Kelvin). 0 Kelvin is equivalent to -273.16 degrees Celsius, and -459.69 degrees Fahrenheit

In 1967, by international agreement, The Kelvin temperature scale was decided to be a scale of units rather than degrees. It is proper therefore to describe the temperature of the boiling point of water at sea level as being 373.15 Kelvin (not 373,15 degrees Kelvin), and the freezing point of water as 273.15 Kelvin (or 273.15 K)

More of this in the animation

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