Questions tagged [thermodynamics]

For questions about the relationships between different forms of energy. Typically involves the distribution and transfer of heat, especially in a science-based or hard-science setting. Often involves specific technology or engineering to achieve the desired energy transfer.

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Cryogenic weapon

Lots of games have a type of "freeze" or "ice" element effect to their weapons, like for instance cryo weapons in Borderlands, but I'm trying to work out how that might be ...
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1 vote
1 answer
115 views

Can kinetic energy be converted into cooling?

In a hypothetical scenario, I'm trying to design an object where, the faster it moves, the more it cools something it comes into contact with it. There's all kinds of materials that can convert energy ...
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-2 votes
1 answer
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Can a button cell battery power car cigarette lighter (in the shape of a ring)?

Is it possible to make a fake golden ring which can light a candle on the push of a button and power it with button cell battery (either coin cell or watch button size)? I have a fraud guy trying to ...
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4 votes
3 answers
103 views

A tidally-locked planet's dry ice caps

An exactly Earth-sized tidally-locked planet orbits its host star, which is functionally identical to our Sun, at an average distance of 1 AU, the same distance that the Earth orbits the Sun. The ...
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5 votes
2 answers
805 views

What can run the condensers on this Hell Train?

Hell turns out to be a real, physical place. It’s a physical planet. I have most of the science figured out for this literal hades, except the heat engines used in here need a cold sink—a strong one ...
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2 votes
4 answers
170 views

How can my character cool her tea quickly? [closed]

Let's say I have a character that is obsessed with drinking warm tea (or cider, or...). Tea needs to be steeped at a high temperature; say, 90°c. However, drinking it at that temperature will result ...
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4 votes
3 answers
1k views

How big can a young mad scientist make their homemade Clifford before he overheats?

Long story short, a child mad scientist wants to scale up their pet dog - they read about Clifford, and wish to replicate that story, as a young mad scientist generally does. The billionaire mad ...
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2 votes
2 answers
223 views

How would Superspeed be Explained?

In the comics, superspeed,- being the ability to move (in particular, run) at speeds typically at least as fast as something like a racecar), whenever it is shown, seems to tend to have the ...
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6 votes
1 answer
247 views

Consequences of having a device that can transform heat back to stored energy in a limited way? [closed]

My setting uses reactors that work on a fictional gas-like inert substance that can safely store an impossibly high amount of energy in itself (breaking the e=mc^2 equation and causing Einstein to ...
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2 votes
2 answers
97 views

What would the structure of a biological thermocouple be?

For reference: a thermocouple is a device that converts heat to electricity. What would an organic, naturally-evolved one that's part of a biological organism look like in terms of structure?
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1 vote
8 answers
260 views

Breaking the Laws of Thermodynamics without Invoking Magic or the Divine

Title pretty much says it all honestly. I wanna design a character for my fantasy story with abilities that are not only shown to break the laws of thermodynamics (the first and second laws ...
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1 vote
0 answers
77 views

The Best Materials for Heatproof Armor [duplicate]

In the Kingdom of Fire, those with the ability to bend the burning element to their will have the unique secondary ability of being able to withstand extremely high temperatures and are able to set ...
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2 votes
1 answer
121 views

Could a photon with negative, dark, or anti energy be used to create a freeze ray?

I'm not really a science whiz, but I know lasers generally use photons to increase the kinetic energy of atoms in their path, thus raising the temperature. Now I know electrons have negative energy, ...
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3 votes
2 answers
260 views

Laser cooling a person

So in my story, I'm trying to develop a plausible freeze ray. Now many people suggest liquid helium, but it seems to have a number of practical setbacks, such as being hard to obtain, needing vast ...
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3 votes
3 answers
285 views

What would happen if entropy works in reverse?

Entropy is the measure of how chaotic a system is analogous to a box containing many dices, the dices can be stacked properly together forming a cuboidal structure or scattered everywhere even outside ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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In fictional world with two time dimensions could I still keep laws of thermodynamics as they are in modern physics? [closed]

There was this question about spacetime with two time dimensions here, but I wonder what could that mean particularly for thermodynamics? To be more precise, could such a universe (none of dimensions ...
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0 votes
1 answer
111 views

Bathroom Mirror vs Eye Lasers

There is this scene where the main good girl is fighting the big bad alone. The big bad fires his eye lasers at the good girl, who uses a bathroom mirror to reflect the rays. The big bad can control ...
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5 votes
2 answers
198 views

Flammability in denser atmospheres: is it a serious problem?

Take a planet with an atmosphere somewhat similar to Earth's but denser, say 9-10bar incl 2-3bar O2, rest mostly N2 with some CO2 (0.1-0.3bar?) Temperature likewise similar to Earth, in the liquid ...
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6 votes
1 answer
249 views

Lizardmen, gigantothermy, and the energy demand of resting muscles. Could it work out?

One common trope, associated with lizardfolk from Castlevania to Overlord, is their weakness to cold. Now, while it is a fun gimmick, it leaves the problem that lizardmen in Overlord are shown to be ...
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9 votes
2 answers
423 views

Linguistics in a society with contrapositive thermodynamic philosophy

Our philosophy is based on the concept of energy as a positive, because we generally live on a planet in a low energy state which does work via fuel. As such, we don’t really have articulate language ...
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6 votes
3 answers
287 views

Is telekinetic cooling plausible?

(Note: this is similar to is Cryomancy scientifically possible?, but not exactly the same.) In my story, I have "magic" that amounts to telekinesis powered by the user's metabolism. It seems that ...
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5 votes
2 answers
114 views

Thermocoupling a mega-structure

I have a mega structure that is for all intents and purposes two halves of a planet that have been split in half and turned into opposite habitats connected by a central column. One of these ...
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2 votes
2 answers
154 views

Entropy, enthalpy, and energy through rapid mitosis

So I'm pretty new to chemistry and all this, but my world involves superpowers, which of course involves immense energy to have the characters use these powers. However, I want to stay consistent with ...
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6 votes
1 answer
317 views

Does "kinetic magic" (essentially telekinesis) imply unlimited energy?

In another question, I talked about a form of magic that converts metabolic energy (i.e. the energy produced by biological processes in "animals", which for this purpose includes e.g. yeast) into ...
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2 votes
2 answers
150 views

Making 4D Radiators Good Enough for Stealth, Unremarkable for Power

I am trying to find a solution for a specific subset of the Stealth in Space Problem: dealing with waste heat without tipping off properly positioned observers. This question is scoped specifically ...
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7 votes
3 answers
549 views

Biological Coolant System for Massive Organisms

The larger an animal, the harder it is to cool down. Ignoring the problem of bone/muscle strength vs size/weight and saying an animal could get to outlandish sizes, would a second cardiovascular ...
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0 votes
2 answers
189 views

Magical Heat Sink - Mobile

In this world there is magic but it works on the basis on moving either a property or energy from/between objects. Hopefully I can have this make sense! Using Matweb.com to get my numbers. Working ...
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2 votes
3 answers
125 views

Viability of using temperature difference to generate energy on a tidally-locked planet

In Larry Niven's Ringworld, the Outsiders lie with one half of their body in the shade and one half of their body in direct sunlight and use the temperature difference to generate energy. Would this ...
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10 votes
4 answers
1k views

Would that heat-engine provide power to the colony on Titan?

I have an idea for an energy source for a colony on a cold world with not enough solar power. Is my idea workable, or is it debunked as perpetual motion machine? Here is the set-up and my plan: ...
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3 votes
1 answer
170 views

What is a realistic useful life of a calcium carbonate pulse jet deflagration chamber?

My jet-propelled squid uses a scavenged shell for its pulse jet deflagration chamber, I am trying to determine how often he’ll have to replace it. Including the shell it’s a 5 kg animal using a ...
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5 votes
1 answer
414 views

How would much smaller heat capacity of water affect the life on Earth?

Water, as is, with its physical and chemical properties, is the base of any living being on Earth. Water has a rather high specific heat capacity of 4.184 J/gC, which in itself has a great effect on ...
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14 votes
3 answers
355 views

How to calculate the loss of primordial heat for a given age and mass of a planet?

I´m working on a computer program which generates realistic planets for worldbuilding purposes. I´ve run into an issue with calculating my planets heat loss. While radiogenic and tidal heat generation ...
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38 votes
10 answers
5k views

Managing heat dissipation in a magic wand

Backstory You won't believe it, but I'll tell you anyway. I'm a Level 61 wizard. If you think about it, wands aren't all that hard to use. Point, invoke, joyfully watch your enemy burn in the ...
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10 votes
1 answer
657 views

What's the useful range of atmospheric oxygen content for fire?

Fire is certainly high up on the top ten list of mankinds most useful inventions. It allows for a more efficient utilisation of nutriants, is the basis of chemistry and the material sciences, allowed ...
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15 votes
3 answers
2k views

Black holes as heat sinks

Cooling in space is a well known difficulty. There are many unpleasant consequences like no stealth in space, difficult space battles which turn into a short wars of attrition (because you have to ...
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8 votes
2 answers
275 views

How small can a perpetual energy source be to run a far-future civilization indefinitely?

You are the leader of a far-future civilization - human or otherwise - that has endured for trillions of years doing whatever far-future civilizations do. You've surrounded stars with Matrioshka ...
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11 votes
4 answers
459 views

How to calculate the thickness of the ice layer of a frozen ocean planet/moon?

How do I calculate the thickness of the upper ice layer on cold ocean worlds like Europa, Enceladus, and Ganymede? I'm asking this for a programm I'm currently writing. The given/known quantities are:...
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5 votes
5 answers
393 views

What is the best way to vent gas to cool a star cruiser?

Generating physical effects with energy generates waste heat. Using a lot of energy, say, by firing a rail gun or a MW laser, generates a lot of heat. A discussion of waste heat issues can be found at ...
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