How Everything Works
How Everything Works How Everything Works
 

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
 
Question 1505

I have noticed that the more I stir the milk into my coffee, the hotter it gets, even though the milk is cold. How does it work?
Stirring the coffee involves a transfer of energy from you to the coffee. That's because you are doing physical work on the coffee by pushing it around as it moves in the direction of your push. What began as chemical energy in your body becomes thermal energy in the coffee. That said, the amount of thermal energy you can transfer to the coffee with any reasonable amount of stirring is pretty small and you'd lose patience with the process long before you achieved any noticeable rise in coffee temperature. I think that the effect you notice is more one of mixing than of heating. Until you mix the milk into the coffee, you may have hot and cold spots in your cup and you may notice the cold spots most strongly.
         

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