Heat & Temperature

Cold Metal

COLD METAL demonstrates that using your hand to measure temperature is not always reliable. The exhibit presents three different materials to touch: Metal, wood, and styrofoam. Each material seems to be at a different temperature. This is curious since all of the materials should be at room temperature. To show this, a temperature probe can be placed on the materials demonstrating that they are at equilibrium. The visitor's hand then, is a better indicator of heat flow than of actual temperature. Metal is a better conductor than wood or styrofoam and hence feels the coldest.