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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36
votes
10answers
4k 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
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 ...
14
votes
3answers
271 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
299 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:...
10
votes
4answers
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: ...
10
votes
1answer
574 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
184 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
458 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 ...
5
votes
5answers
320 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
156 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
95 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
140 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
106 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
126 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
148 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 ...