photo credit: Pixabay user Unsplash, publicly domain, via... <+> https://pixabay.com/en/steam-tea-coffee-aroma-336464/.

You are watching: Does blowing on food cool it down


When it"s cold outside, it"s only natural to want something to warm you up. Whether that"s coffee, hot chocolate, tea, soup or another tasty beverage, it often pertains to you too hot to actually placed in your mouth, v the potential to scald you if girlfriend accidentally drink it appropriate away. Us all have actually our favorite ways to cool the down, though they every come through their disadvantages:


You have the right to simply wait because that the cooler room to exchange power with the warm liquid, but that often takes an ext time than most of us room willing to wait. You can drop an ice cream cube in there and also speed up the cool-down process, but that waters down your beverage, other no one really wants. Or, you have the right to blow ~ above it, imparting your cool breath come the hot liquid, cooling it an ext quickly 보다 leaving that alone without watering that down.

Almost every one of us go with that last choice by default, however the coolness of your breath is only part of the scientific story.


What is that that in reality determines the temperature of your liquid? It"s how quickly the individual molecules inside room moving: your kinetic energy is a measure of your thermal energy. This is why, if friend drop food coloring right into both hot and cold water, castle disperse in the hot water much faster than the cold: the molecules in the warm water move roughly much more quickly, and also so, therefore, do the molecules of the food coloring, which conveniently reach the very same temperature together the water after gift dropped in.


But if girlfriend looked closely at every individual molecule, you"d an alert something a little an ext subtle attheir speeds and also their energies. Sure, after even a short amount of time, they move at the same average speed and also have the same mean energy: this is the procedure of thermalization, where once molecules collide v one another, they exchange energy. Depending on the exact speeds, angles and masses the the colliding molecules, each individual molecule could be moving much faster or slower than the mean speed. In general, you acquire a certain type of distribution-of-speeds because that the molecules inside your liquid: a Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution.

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picture credit: Wikimedia Commons user Pdbailey, who created this image and also placed it in the public... <+> domain. The speed distribution is qualitatively the exact same for liquids as it is because that gases.


Sure,most the the moleculesinside will have actually a speed that"s given by the median temperature, yet there"s going to be a range: numerous will be hotter and also many will certainly be colder. What friend don"t watch on the diagram over is the for any temperature, some of the molecule (more for hotter temperatures, fewer for reduced temperatures) will be above the temperature threshold to get in the gas phase. If you"ve ever before observed vapor rising off your hot beverage, that"s actually emerging from the hottest, many energetic molecules within entering the gas phase, condensing ago into increasing liquid droplets together the cool air above interacts v them. (Which is why, if you placed your noseabove a steaming cup that coffee, it comes outnot simply hot, but additionally wet!)


When you blow right into the hot liquid, yes, the waiting you"re leading to to come into contact with the liquid is cooler than the fluid itself, and so that heat exchange will help your beverage cool faster. However a big effect likewise comes indigenous the fact that when you blow on your beverage, you"re increasing the number (and an altering the sample) of molecules in contact with the air, and so you boost the rate at which the hottest molecule evaporate, entering the gaseous phase and also leaving her liquid. The large reason this is necessary is once you enable the hottest molecule to escape, theytake that heat with them, leaving you v an all at once cooler system than you began with!

The following time someone berates you because that blowing as well strongly top top your warm beverage, you"ll have science to ago you up. A more vigorous punch helps the hottest molecule escape faster, top you to reap your drink at the appropriate temperature quicker than anyone else!


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I to be a Ph.D. Astrophysicist, author, and also science communicator, that professes physics and astronomy at assorted colleges. I have won numerous awards for scientific research writing because 2008 for my blog, Starts with A Bang, including the award for ideal science blog through the institute of Physics. My two books, Treknology: The science of Star Trek indigenous Tricorders come Warp Drive, past the Galaxy: just how humanity looked past our Milky way and discovered the whole Universe, are obtainable for acquisition at Amazon. Monitor me on Twitter