46 votes
Accepted

Is there a cheap, safe liquid that evaporates EXOthermically around room temperature?

No such liquid, safe or otherwise, can exist. Evaporation is a strictly endothermic process in all cases. The change in state from liquid to gas is marked by the individual particles gaining enough ...
hBy2Py's user avatar
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40 votes
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What properties of carbon dioxide make it a greenhouse gas?

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): "Greenhouse gases are those that absorb and emit infrared radiation in the wavelength range emitted by Earth." In order for a ...
airhuff's user avatar
  • 17.5k
37 votes

Can thermite be lit while mixed into butane? If not is there a flammable liquid that would work?

Thermite is a solid-solid reaction that I think would be greatly inhibited by any sort of intermediate. In either case, the smoke, the dust and the copious amounts of nitrous oxides produced will not ...
Stian's user avatar
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33 votes
Accepted

When a candle burns, why does the top of wick glow if bottom of flame is hottest?

The wick temperature does not have to be the same as the flame temperature.The flame is hottest at the bottom, but the wick is hottest at the top. For a candle, the wick burning isn't the intended ...
A.K.'s user avatar
  • 12.5k
29 votes

Microwaving a glass of water, what happens?

Heating water on a hot plate is safe, because the hottest point is at the bottom of the pot. A lot of relatively small bubbles appear there without much overheating of the water, because there is a ...
Karl's user avatar
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29 votes

When a candle burns, why does the top of wick glow if bottom of flame is hottest?

Because fire is not the same thing as light. Michael Faraday did a wonderful job of explaining how the candle works, and I direct you to look at it (there are also Youtube videos giving a modern take ...
Zhe's user avatar
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24 votes

Can single molecules of C and O2 react in isolation, and if so how will momentum be conserved?

$\ce{C + O2}$ is awfully complicated, so let's just pretend you've asked this: In a single act of the reaction $\ce{H. + H .-> H2}$, how is momentum conserved? That's a legitimate concern all right....
Ivan Neretin's user avatar
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23 votes
Accepted

How can a thermometer ever show the actual temperature of an object if the object loses heat to the thermometer?

I'll start by mentioning that there's no such thing as an exact measurement—there is always some measurement error. The only observations that can be numerically exact are counted numbers of discrete ...
theorist's user avatar
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22 votes

Can thermite be lit while mixed into butane? If not is there a flammable liquid that would work?

In addition to the points Stian raised, it's important to realize that thermite is very difficult to ignite. The ignition temperature is very, very high, higher than you can easily get by burning ...
Mason Wheeler's user avatar
22 votes
Accepted

Can carbon dioxide be reduced to carbon monoxide and oxygen to produce energy?

Unfortunately, the question as stated is thermodynamically impossible. Let's look at the proposed reaction: $$\ce{CO2(g) -> CO(g) + O(g)}$$ This reaction is simply a bond dissociation (specifically,...
Nicolau Saker Neto's user avatar
21 votes

What properties of carbon dioxide make it a greenhouse gas?

When heat is leaving earth it leaves as infrared radiation. Greenhouse gases are gases that are able to absorb this infrared radiation. If we look at the infrared emission spectrum from Earth[1]: We ...
Erik Kjellgren's user avatar
19 votes
Accepted

Does all fire only emit light on its outermost shell?

The answer is NO. The article you quote makes a completely unwarranted generalisation that "all flames are hollow". This is true of some flames but only because the fuel that is burning is ...
matt_black's user avatar
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18 votes

Relation between constant-pressure and constant-volume heat capacities: Cp - Cv = nR

Preliminaries Consider $U = U(V,T, p)$. However, assuming that it is possible to write an equation of state of the form $p = f(V,T)$, I don't have to explicitly address the $p$ dependence of $U$, ...
getafix's user avatar
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18 votes
Accepted

If aliens lived in a hydrogen (or any flammable gas) based atmosphere, would they perceive oxygen to be flammable?

Absolutely yes. Lighting a torch in such an environment would simply be the reverse physical process (and same chemical process) of what is done in our oxygen-containing atmosphere. In the chamber ...
airhuff's user avatar
  • 17.5k
17 votes
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Strong exothermic mixing of two 'safe' liquids

If you need a quick source of moderate heat, why not use a single liquid? Sodium acetate trihydrate ($\ce{CH3COONa·3H2O}$), for example, releases heat energy on crystallization... and it takes very ...
DrMoishe Pippik's user avatar
16 votes
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Relation between constant-pressure and constant-volume heat capacities: Cp - Cv = nR

The heat capacities are defined as $$C_p = \left(\frac{\partial H}{\partial T}\right)_{\!p} \qquad \qquad C_V = \left(\frac{\partial U}{\partial T}\right)_{\!V} \tag{1}$$ and since $H = U + pV$, we ...
orthocresol's user avatar
  • 71.1k
15 votes

Microwaving a glass of water, what happens?

The mode of heating of a water glass in a microwave and on a stove is actually very similar. While it's true that microwave radiation penetrates somewhat into the body of water, the penetration depth ...
Luaan's user avatar
  • 505
14 votes

What is the difference between enthalpy (H) and heat (q)?

Enthalpy and heat are entirely different things. Enthalpy is a function of state. If you know the state of a system, you know its enthalpy. If you know the starting and ending states of a process, ...
Mark Eichenlaub's user avatar
14 votes

Can thermite be lit while mixed into butane? If not is there a flammable liquid that would work?

I'm not at all sure that termite is a useful solution to this problem. The thermite reaction takes place between iron oxide and aluminium, producing a lot of heat and molten iron as a result. This ...
Chris Johns's user avatar
14 votes

What exactly is temperature?

Temperature vs kinetic energy [OP:] I've read at many places that temperature is the average kinetic energy of particles present in an object. Temperature has to do with the average kinetic energy ...
Karsten's user avatar
  • 40.3k
14 votes
Accepted

What factors promote honey's crystallisation?

The decisive factor is the plant origin of honey. The major components ( reportedly by some beekeeper books of my passed away father ) have ratio glucose : fructose about 1:1 to 1:1.7. Glucose ...
Poutnik's user avatar
  • 41.6k
13 votes

What exactly is temperature?

Heat is the transfer of energy to or from the body in forms other than matter flow or work (organized energy transfer, such as pushing). Temperature is only a well-defined property for a collective ...
jezzo's user avatar
  • 1,550
11 votes
Accepted

How does sulfuric acid react to heating?

Sulfuric acid, $\ce{H2SO4}$, having an enthalpy of formation of $-814\ \mathrm{kJ/mol}$, is quite stable and won't decompose easily. According to A Kinetic Study of the Decomposition of Spent Sulfuric ...
DHMO's user avatar
  • 5,035
11 votes

Can thermite be lit while mixed into butane? If not is there a flammable liquid that would work?

This will not answer the part of igniting thermite, but addresses the issue of the snow on the driveway, that you want to forget. Instead of heating from top (by a torch), you may consider heating ...
Buttonwood's user avatar
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11 votes
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Why would a ~1 cm thick layer of argon be a significantly poorer conductor of heat than air?

The thermal conductivity coefficients of some gasses in units of W/(m•K) are helium 0.142, argon 0.016, air 0.026, methane 0.03, propane 0.015, bromine 0.004, and steam 0.018. These are all rather ...
porphyrin's user avatar
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10 votes
Accepted

Why do we use Δ to mean heating?

The retrieval of this symbol history poses a considerable challenge, as it is scarcely mentioned in textbooks, Google Books and Google Scholar. The current application of the triangle symbol, distinct ...
AChem's user avatar
  • 40.3k
10 votes

Can carbon dioxide be reduced to carbon monoxide and oxygen to produce energy?

You’re looking at bond dissociation energies. They, however, do not give a good picture. A better place to start looking is the standard enthalpy of formation. The linked Wikipedia article provides an ...
Jan's user avatar
  • 68k
9 votes
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How does a diatomic molecule vibrate in response to heat?

The diatomic can vibrate only by extending and contracting the bond. The more energy that is added the bigger the bond excursion. (More vibrational levels are excited and have bigger excursions). The ...
porphyrin's user avatar
  • 30.5k
9 votes

Why does lead nitrate powder on heating starts turning yellow from the top rather than from the bottom?

Lead oxide is a peculiar type of salt. It's brown when it's hot and turns yellow when it's cool. The lower most part remaining white could be due to two possible reasons: The top-powder becoming ...
Berry Holmes's user avatar
  • 4,134
9 votes

Can thermite be lit while mixed into butane? If not is there a flammable liquid that would work?

Most liquids don't burn directly: you first must vaporize them into a gas, and then that gas burns. Butane is no exception. The real issue* would be that vaporization. Gases take up more space than ...
Cort Ammon's user avatar
  • 1,579

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