Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Crack the Glass

If boiling water is poured into a thick drinking glass as well as a very thin wine glass, of the two, which is more likely to crack? Why?


  1. the thick glass is more likely to crack. all glass material will expand in reaction to the rapidly increased localized temperature. in a thin glass, that expansion is quite small and can be easily withstood, especially since the air immediately outside the glass will also heat quickly due to rapid thermal transfer. in the thick glass, though, there will be a significant gradient in temperature within the glass itself, causing some areas to expand while other areas do not. This causes the glass to significantly shear against itself, and crack.

  2. Very impressive, Andrew. Who are you who are so wise in the ways of science?

  3. Very good andrew. I think you covered the answer nicely.

  4. well i've got a PhD in bioengineering...and it's not too different from stuff i work on every day.


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