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Temperature


The concept of temperature seems like it should be a basic concept, right?  How hard can it be, we’ve worked with temperatures for most of our lives.  We set the thermostat in our house at the temperature we feel comfortable at, we set our ovens at the temperature we wish to cook our food at, we decide what we are going to wear based on the temperature on the thermometer outside so how could we possibly justify an article dedicated to temperature?

Well, as it turns out, the concept of temperature is quite complex and most of us have no more than a very basic understanding of the concept.

OK so what is temperature.  Temperature is a concept that us smart humans developed to measure the motion of the molecules that make up a substance.  As the motion of molecules that make up something increases, the temperature of that something increases and visa versa.  To put it another way, when we say “it is warmer outside today than it was yesterday”, we are really saying “the nitrogen, oxygen, carbon, and argon atoms that make up our atmosphere are moving more today than they were yesterday”.  See, it is way easier to just say “it is warmer today”.

Now that we have a little better understanding of what temperature means, we can think a little more about what kinds of things we need to consider when it comes to temperatures in a system.  Consider for example the concept of “thermal equilibrium” which is a fancy technical term used in thermodynamics to explain what happens when there is no heat transferring from one thing (like air) to another (like the duct the air is flowing through).  If a system is in thermal equilibrium, the energy of the molecules in the system is not changing and the temperature is the same at every point in the system.

Now think about the real world and ask yourself how likely is it for drying equipment to be in thermal equilibrium?  Not very practical is it?  In the real world, things are always changing.  Fans turn on and off, doors open and close, pumps start and stop, it is chaos around us.

So why is that important?  Well, if things are constantly changing, that means temperature is constantly fluctuating.  You witness this fact every day.  Even though the temperature on your thermostat is set at 70 degrees, you know that some parts of your house are colder than others and some parts are warmer than others.  The same is true inside your equipment while it is running.  Even in the little 3/8” airlines supplying air to that shut-off valve, the temperature on one side of the airline is different than the temperature on the other side.  May not be a lot different but, it is different.

OK but what does it matter?  Well, at this point, hold that thought.  In the next couple blog entries, we will work on tying the concept of specific heat and temperature together to explain why these are such important concepts in drying equipment.  In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about how Envirostar can help you improve the yield, reduce energy consumption, and improve the quality consistency of your drying equipment, give us a call at (320) 316-3170 or send us a note at admin@envirostarllc.com

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