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Newton's Law of Cooling Model Documents

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Main Document

Newton's Law of Cooling Model

written by Wolfgang Christian

The Newton's Law of Cooling model computes the temperature of an object of mass M as it is heated by a flame and cooled by the surrounding medium.  The model assumes that the temperature T within the object is uniform.  This lumped system approximation is valid if the rate of thermal energy transfer within the object is faster than the rate of thermal energy transfer at the surface.  Users can select the mass or volume of the object and the type of material, and the model computes the temperature as a function of time. The model plots this temperature as a function of time as the user heats and cools the object.  It is a supplemental simulation for an article by William Dittrich, Leonid Minkin, and Alexander S. Shapovalov "Measuring the Specific Heat of Metals by Cooling" in the The Physics Teacher 48 (8), 531-533 (2010).

The object heats and cools by exchanging thermal energy with the surrounding fluid by convection and this energy exchange is proportional to the difference between the object's surface temperature Ts and the temperature of the fluid Tf.  Inside the object the thermal energy is transported by diffusion.   The temperature inside is uniform if thermal energy transfer within the object is faster than thermal energy transfer at the surface.

The Newton's Law of Cooling model was created using the Easy Java Simulations (EJS) modeling tool.  It is distributed as a ready-to-run (compiled) Java archive.  Double clicking the ejs_heat_NewtonLawOfCooling.jar file will run the program if Java is installed.

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Supplemental Documents (4)

Heating and Cooling Model for Teachers

A customizable heating and cooling simulation that allows teachers to set the display parameters.  The customized simulation is automatically saved with associated curricular in a new jar file that can be redistributed.

This file has previous versions.

Heating and Cooling Model for Teachers: Additional Documentation Regarding Customization

A pdf file that provides additional documentation regarding customization of this simulation.

Published July 12, 2012

This file is included in the full-text index.
This file has previous versions.

Heating and Cooling Middle School Lesson Plan

A middle school science lesson plan that uses to Newton's Law of Cooling model to explain why we must continually heat our houses in winter and cool them in summer.

Released under a Copyright by Barbara Christian.  Free for non-commercial use with attribution.

Published October 10, 2010

This file is included in the full-text index.
This file has previous versions.

Heating and Cooling Middle School Lesson Plan Key

Answer key with screen shots for the middle school science lesson plan.

Released under a Copyright Barbara Christian.  Free for non-commercial use with attribution.

Published October 10, 2001

This file is included in the full-text index.

Source Code Documents (2)

Newton's Law of Cooling Source Code

The source code zip archive contains an XML representation of the Newton's Law of Cooling model.   Unzip this archive in your EJS workspace to compile and run this model using EJS.