This difference in the way you feel in the house, despite that it is always the same temperature, comes from differences in thermal energy between you and the house. Thermal energy is that portion of the energy in any body or object that is responsible for its temperature, according to Robert F. Speyer in his Thermal Analysis of Materials. (In general, energy is just a property of any object or system that can be transferred to another object or system through some interaction.) Therefore, if one object has a higher temperature than another object, this object has more thermal energy.
Here’s what you’ll need:
1. A large bowl of very warm water, but not hot enough to burn you, about 90°F (like a hot bath)
2. A large bowl of ice water
3. A large bowl of water at room temperature
4. A watch with a sweep second hand, or a stopwatch
Here’s what you need to do:
1. Place all the bowls of water on a table or counter, ice water and hot water on either side of you, and the room temperature water in front of you.
2. Place one hand in the hot water, and your other hand in the ice water.
3. Leave your hands this way for at least 30 seconds, or 60 if you can.
4. After 30 seconds, pull both hands out of their respective bowls, and place them both in the room temperature water.
What are your hands feeling? Is there any difference? Why is that? Be sure to write down what you feel and observe!
Speyer, R. F. (2012). Thermal Analysis of Materials. Materials Engineering. Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York, New York.