What is Temperature?
May 31, 2011 6:56 PM Subscribe
Science Explanation needed: Trying to get a better understanding of 'temperature'. While discussing whether it's safe to eat from a non-stick pan I pointed out that Teflon doesn't start to break down until it hits around 300 degrees; if you kept the pan temp lower than that it should be fine. I was told that I'm wrong because 'temperature doesn't work that way'.
posted by artof.mulata to science & nature (24 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
In a nutshell, the explanation I was given is that atoms are all vibrating at different rates and some are shaking much more than others in a given body. Thus some could be measured as being at 800 degrees and others at 100 and so the temperature of the measured body would be an average of all those temperatures. That would cause the Teflon to lose small bits of itself at the atomically smaller higher temps and get into you.
Does this make any sense? I've been reading about temperature all day and can't find anything that I can understand one way or the other as to this explanation of temperature.