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AP® Physics 1 & 2

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Cold Sensation Discussion

APPH12-ZZYE94

After coming in from spending some time outside on a winter’s day two physics students have the following conversation about temperature and heat.

Student A: “I touched the metal flag pole with my bare hand. It felt incredibly cold.”

Student B: “I touched part of a wooden climbing structure with my bare hand. It didn’t feel very cold.”

Student A: “I guess metal always has a lower temperature than wood. Don’t you think?”

Which statement below is a response Student B could say that uses proper physics terms and application of physics concepts?

A

The metal has the lower temperature because metal has a lower thermal conductivity than wood.

B

The metal and the wood both have the same temperature as the outside air. Our hand conducts heat into the metal faster than it does into the wood, and that makes the metal feel colder.

C

The metal and the wood both have the same temperature as the outside air. The roughness of the wood surface makes it feel warmer than the smoothness of the metal.

D

The wood has the lower temperature. The wood is such a good thermal insulator that none of its coldness is transferred to our hands.