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
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
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The main goal of all his experimentation was to demonstrate that mechanical work could be converted to heat and to establish the conversion factor; the so-called "mechanical equivalent of heat." Although this seems normal to us, it was so far removed from scientific orthodoxy at the time that the first reading of his theories, at a meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1843, was met with complete silence from the audience.
Thomson and Clausius shared the credit for the theoretical structure that the science of thermodynamics took in the 19th century and has since evolved into the present forms--largely, as the result of their success in resolving (reconciling) the conflict between the mechanical equivalent of heat and Carnot's Principle.
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.

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