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Assignment Chapter 8 Electricity




1. A solar panel is an electronic device that produces electric power when it?s exposed to


sunlight. It?s also a type of heat engine.


a. What object supplies the heat that powers this heat engine?


b. What object receives the waste heat that passes through this heat engine?


c. If you try to run a solar panel by exposing it to light from an incandescent bulb, it will


produce relatively little electric power. Explain this result in terms of the temperature of the


bulb?s filament.


d. What happens when it is a rainy day for a solar panel?


e. A thermoelectric cell produces electricity when you heat one side of it and cool the other.


How does this device resemble a solar panel?


f. What needs to be different with a solar panel in Alaska and in Texas?


2. A refrigerator is a heat pump that cools the contents of a food locker. Like an air


conditioner, it has an evaporator, a condenser, and a compressor.


a. Where is the evaporator located in a refrigerator?


b. Where is the condenser?


c. What will happen to the food?s temperature if the refrigerator is pushed flush against a wall


so the refrigerator?s condenser and compressor can?t exchange heat with the room?


d. What will happen to the temperature of the room if you open the door to the refrigerator and


let it run for a few hours?


e. How does an air curtain work in a supermarket where there are no doors on a display case?


f. Why does it take more electricity to operate a freezer than a refrigerator of similar size and


quality? 3. Desalinating salt water is one way arid regions are able to obtain drinking water.


However, it?s not an easy process.


a. If you were on a boat why can?t you drink salt water to survive? How could you desalinate


small amounts of water for survival?


b. Why does the desalination process requires either the conversion of ordered energy into


thermal energy or the movement of heat from a hotter region to a colder region?


c. One technique for desalination is reverse osmosis, in which salt water is squeezed through a


special membrane that permits only pure water to pass. Show that squeezing water through this


membrane takes work (ordered energy).


d. Another technique for desalination is distillation, in which salt water is boiled in a hotter


region to form water vapor that is then condensed to pure water in a colder region. This


desalination process is a heat engine that separates the water from the salt. Explain why it?s a


heat engine.


e. Still another desalination technique is freezing the salt water into pure ice and salt crystals.


In this case the salt water has to be cooled to very low temperatures to freeze it, then warmed to


a much higher temperature to melt it. Show that this technique is also using a heat engine to


drive the desalination process.


f. How does a Brita filter work? Will it desalinate water? 4. It?s your first day on the staff of the U.S. Patents Office and you?re excited about having


some new ideas come across your desk.


a. An inventor comes to you with a small box that is supposed to make batteries obsolete. The


inventor claims that the box can produce electricity forever without having to be recharged.


Why can you be sure that this claim is nonsense?


b. Another inventor comes in with a small motor like device that?s powered by a burning


candle. The inventor claims that this device takes the heat from the candle and turns it entirely into work. The device thus doesn?t warm the room at all. Your knowledge of the laws of


thermodynamics assures you that this claim, too, is nonsense. Why?


c. As though the entire population of inept inventors was released on you in one day, another


character comes in claiming to have a heat pump that can transfer heat out of a box of corn


flakes for as long as you like. The cereal just gets colder and colder. Once again, you know that


this is impossible. Explain.


d. Just when you thought you were out of the woods, a person comes in with a coffee mug that


automatically reassembles itself if you accidentally break it. You?re supposed to put the broken


mug in a box and wait. In a minute or two, the mug will be as good as new. You agree with the


inventor that this reconstruction trick doesn?t violate any of the laws of motion. However, you


can still be sure that it won?t work. Why? 5) Who is Nikola Tesla and why is he popular in Rocky Point?


How did he alleviate Mark Twain?s digestive problems?


Bonus (1 point) The Public Broadcasting Corporation had a show the Electric Company, that


wasn?t about the transmission of A.C. or D.C.. What was the show about?


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