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Studying cooling curves with a smartphone

Authors: Manuela Ramos Silva; Pablo Martín-Ramos; Pedro Pereira da Silva

Ref.: Physics Teacher 56, 53-55 (2018)

Abstract: This paper describes a simple procedure for the study of the cooling of a spherical body using a standard thermometer and a smartphone. Experiments making use of smartphone sensors have been described before, contributing to an improved teaching of classical mechanics, but rarely expand to thermodynamics. In this experiment, instead of using a smartphone camera to slow down a fast movement, we are using the device to speed up a slow process. For that we propose the use of the free app Framelapse to take periodic pictures (in the form of a time-lapse video) and then the free app VidAnalysis to track the position of the mercury inside the thermometer, thus effortlessly tracking the temperature of a cooling body (Fig. 1).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1119/1.5018696