Topic Progress:

Temperature

Directions: Before you start listen to part of a talk in a physics class.

*Vocabulary is sometimes provided in written form when it may be unfamiliar to the student, but essential for understanding the lecture

Vocabulary
tepid water
thermometer

TRANSCRIPT

Temperature

The concept of temperature has evolved from the common concepts of hot and cold. Human perception of what feels hot or cold is a relative one. For example, if you place one hand in hot water and the other in cold water, and then place both hands in tepid water, the tepid water will feel cool to the hand that was in hot water, and warm to the one that was in cold water. The scientific definition of temperature is less ambiguous than your senses of hot and cold. Temperature is operationally defined to be what we measure with a thermometer. Two accurate thermometers, one placed in hot water and the other in cold water, will show the hot water to have a higher temperature. If they are then placed in the tepid water, both will give identical readings. Again, just to reiterate, temperature is the quantity measured by a thermometer.

Any physical property that depends on temperature, and whose response to temperature is reproducible, can be used as the basis of a thermometer. Because many physical properties depend on temperature, the variety of thermometers is remarkable. For example, volume increases with temperature for most substances. This property is the basis for the common alcohol thermometer, the old mercury thermometer, and the bimetallic strip. Other properties used to measure temperature include electrical resistance and color, and the emission of infrared radiation.

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