What the Z@%$ IS Thermodynamics?  Well, it’s a branch of science that deals with heat; more specifically heat transfer.  It has four laws: the zeroth law, the first law, the second law and the third law.  If you are wondering why there is a zeroth law, it is because when scientists were first researching the properties of Thermodynamics, the scientists already had figured out the first, second, and third laws.  Then  another component was discovered, so……. the zeroth law came into being.

The zeroth law of Thermodynamics states that when two or more objects (i.e.:  two or three metal rods) come into contact, something called Thermodynamic Equilibrium will be attained.  Thermodynamic Equilibrium is the transfer of heat.  The first law has a bit to do with the zeroth law:  The first law of Thermodynamics states that energy cannot be destroyed or created.  It can only be transformed or transferred.  For example, when a bomb goes off, all the potential energy inside of the bomb is transformed into kinetic energy.  The second law of Thermodynamics is an expression of the tendency that over time, differences in temperature, pressure, and chemical potential equilibrate in an isolated physical system.  The third law of Thermodynamics states that if all the kinetic energy could be removed from the Universe, a state called “Absolute Zero” would be attained.  Absolute Zero will occur when the temperature of empty space reaches 0 Kelvins, or -273.15 Celsius, or -459.67 Fahrenheit.  Absolute Zero will be attained when all the matter and energy of the Universe is randomly distributed.  Of course, this is only the bare basics of Thermodynamics, and if you are interested in learning more, please Google it!

School, science and cars have coincided to create a new project.  I decided that Thermodynamics and cars was the answer! I plan to conduct an experiment on different types and sizes of engines to determine which engine will run the coolest.  Among others, I plan to measure the engine heat of a 2003 GMC Sierra 2500HD with the Duramax diesel engine,  2004 Ford F150, 2003 Chrysler Town & Country with the 3.8 liter V6.  My belief is that the diesel will run the coolest, followed by the F150 and the Town & Country.  Diesel powered engines run at lower temperatures than gasoline powered engines.  Since diesels have peak horsepower and torque at lower RPM’s, they should run at lower temperatures than gasoline cars.  Since most diesels are large (above 6 liters, but there are some that are 2 liters and smaller), engine size is also a possibility.

If you are local and are willing to or would like to participate, let me know.  I know that some of you out there have small engines, hybrids and diesels that are calling out to have their temperature taken (doctor, doctor!).   Stay tuned for more posts on this awesome experiment!

9 thoughts on “Science Period!

  1. Can I add the Negative One Law of Thermodynamics? It is: the colder our house is, the longer it takes for the wood burning stove to light! It is an absolutely predictable phenomenon. Happy to have you test my hybrid, Candler!

  2. How do you propose to take all the temperatures?
    What about a car rental agency with a bunch of different cars?

    1. I thought about that, but they might want to charge me, and what if the car that I want to test is gone when I go to test it? I plan to put a good thermometer to the engine block of a car.

  3. Tomorrow morning when I start the van, I wonder what my engine temp will be? Is it possible to be in the negative numbers?! I guess I better allow for a long warm up.

  4. If you want to get a bit fancier with the measurements let me know. I have thermocouples (and meters for them) that can be attached to the blocks under a bolt. And feel free to measure our cars as well

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