Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A mystery solved

When I was a kid I was in a day camp that took us swimming every day, then after we would hang around the park until our parents picked us up. After we swam, we could change from the swimsuits into our regular clothes and sometimes I did but other times I didn't, like on days when I totally forgot to bring any other clothes. What I noticed at this early age was that if I wore the swimsuit after swimming it would dry (rather quickly, like within an hour) but if I took it off it wouldn't dry (often it wouldn't even be dry by the next morning). So I started to wear the swimsuit after swimming if I knew I would need it again the next day to be sure it got dry (there's nothing worse than putting on a cold wet swimsuit in the morning) but on days when it didn't matter I would take it off. Sometimes I would even wear it around until it dried and then take it off.

Well, the other day I came up with a theory as to why the swimsuits dries better on you then off - because your body is WARM, and the heat of your body helps speed up the drying process (plus it's completely flattened out so it has lots of air). I'm a GENIUS (note: I had to check that I spelled genius correctly, so maybe I'm not such a genius. But in this matter, I am, there's no denying it).

But here's an unanswered question: why does a cube of ice melt faster in a cup of room temp water than sitting on your counter at room temp? That goes for a bag of ice also. If you don't believe me try it out!


mwz said...

Water transfers heat more efficiently than air.

That's why we use air as an insulator (think double paned windows and thermoses).


J-Funk said...

Well aren't you a smarty-pants!

Uncle KT said...

The specific heat of water is 4.186 joule/g°C which is higher than any other common substance (air = 1.01). Thus justifying in numbers what mwz posted earlier.