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Thermodynamics/Expected temperature change


Hi Kevin
I accidentally left some of my medication out of the fridge, and I was wondering if you can possibly calculate approximately what  temperature it is likely to have gotten to. The most likely approximations are that it started at 4 degrees Celsius and was left in a room of 21 degrees Celsius for 4 hours. Can you tell me: a) what temperature it is likely to be at after 4 hours and b) how long it is likely to have been over 8 degrees Celsius?This will give me an idea of how much I've messed up! Thank you in advance. Kind regards, Lizzie

Hi Lizzie,

In theory I could calculate this if I had a lot of information about packaging, size and air circulation but is it worth the effort? It is your medication and there is nothing more important than your health to you and even I am concerned.

Chuck it out and buy new. Please :-)

Best wishes.


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Thermodynamics, chemistry, chemical reactions, kinetics, chemical reaction safety, dust explosion technology, static electricity. General science.


Over 40 years experience as a practicing thermochemist in industry. Head of the fire and explosion laboratory of a major European chemical company (Ciba-Geigy). Now retired.

Institute of Chemical Engineers. Royal Society of Chemistry.

Chartered Chemist, Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (C.Chem MRSC). Msc Sheffield.

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