How does being cold work? How do the air molecules interact with your body to make you cold?


How does being cold work? How do the air molecules interact with your body to make you cold?

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Temperature is basically how fast molecules vibrate.

If you are in cold air your molecules vibrate more that the air, when they collide the chance that energy is transferred away from you is much higher than the other way around. (It always tries to balance out)

You heat up the air around you, and your molecules have to spend energy for that. The warm air moves away making room for new cold air.

Since your body can only work at a specific temperature it will fight back by raising hairs (that are supposed to trap warm air near you) and shivering wich makes your muscles produce heat.

Think of it like this. Let’s say you have a glass box with a divider inside. The divider splits the box into two separated compartments. Let’s fill one side with water, while leaving the other side empty. The water side represents your skin, and the empty side represents the air. Water represents heat.

When we remove the divider, water flows into the empty side. Now the whole glass box has an even water level. Why? Well, because water likes to spread out. Likewise, heat likes to spread out too. When you expose your skin to the air, your body heat will try to “spread out” to places where there isn’t as much heat, like the air. So, heat literally leaves your skin.

What that means is the air isn’t making you cold. You’re making the air hot, and by doing so, you’re losing your own heat, making you feel “cold.”

The second law of thermodynamics states that heat/energy goes from hot objects to cold objects. When the air is colder than you, you will lose energy and get cold. You will lose heat/energy faster when the air is colder.

It’s the same idea for putting ice in your drink. Your drink is hotter than the ice. When you put them together the drink will get colder and the ice will get hotter and melt