mechanical equivalent of heat


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mechanical equivalent of heat

n
(General Physics) physics a factor for converting units of energy into heat units. It has the value 4.1868 joules per calorie. Symbol: J
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Or imagine building a replica of the paddle-wheel apparatus James Joule used to determine the mechanical equivalent of heat, and recreating his experiment in order to reveal the role of particular skills in a great discovery--in this case the exquisite temperature-measuring skills of a 19th-century Manchester brewer.
The effort of Joule to establish the mechanical equivalent of heat by more and more refined methods is certainly the best evidence of the significance which this man of genius attributed to quantitative investigation.
In fact a German physicist, Julius Robert von Mayer (1814-1878), had presented a figure of the mechanical equivalent of heat in 1842 (one that was far less accurate than Joule's) and deduced from it that a law of conservation of energy existed, but his work did not attract attention.

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