Heat Transfer

A Nail in the Potato

If an experiment was performed baking two potatoes, one with a nail in it and one without, we would expect the potato with the metal to cook faster.


Because metal has a higher heat transfer rate than the potato, the heat would be able to travel to the center of the potato faster via the metal nail. Therefore, the cooking time would decrease. This would be true with any metal object, not just a nail. So, next time you are baking a potato in a hurry, place a (sanitized) nail in the center and see how much faster the potato cooks.

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This project was funded in part by the National Science Foundation and is advised by Dr. Masel and Dr. Blowers at the University of Illinois.

2007 Arizona Board of Regents for The University of Arizona