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Physics/Cooling Rate Of Water


How does the Surface area affect the cooling rate?

Hello Sarah,

Heat is exchanged 3 ways: conduction, convection, and radiation. Convection doesn't apply well to your question. Convection takes place within liquid or gas that has a distribution of temperature. As I interpret your question, it's about an object giving heat off to its surroundings. Conduction and radiation are both a function of several factors. But if surface area is the only factor that is variable, heat loss thru either mode is directly proportional to surface area -- so doubling the suface area doubles the heat loss.

I hope this helps,


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Steve Johnson


I would be delighted to help with questions up through the first year of college Physics. Particularly Electricity, Electronics and Newtonian Mechanics (motion, acceleration etc.). I decline questions on relativity and Atomic Physics. I also could discuss the Space Shuttle and space flight in general.


I have a BS in Physics and an MS in Electrical Engineering. I am retired now. My professional career was in Electrical Engineering with considerable time spent working with accelerometers, gyroscopes and flight dynamics (Physics related topics) while working on the Space Shuttle. I gave formal classroom lessons to technical co-workers periodically over a several year period.

BS Physics, North Dakota State University
MS Electrical Engineering, North Dakota State University

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