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Q & A: thermal conductivity of liquids

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Most recent answer: 10/20/2014
Q:
Which one "feels" hotter: water or oil at the same temperatures? (i.e. if I put my hand in a bowl of water at 80C and in a bowl of oil at 80C, in which one would I expect more pain...) Thanks
- Mauro (age 34)
Brusque, Santa Catarina, Brazil
A:

The key difference would be how rapidly heat flows from the liquid into your hand. That depends mainly on the thermal conductivity of the liquid. According to a standard source, , water has a higher thermal conductivity than typical oils. So putting your hand in the water is an even worse idea than putting your hand in the oil.

Mike W. 


(published on 10/20/2014)

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