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Eggs

# Eggs

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12/04/2012

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PHYxxxx Everyday Physics Boiling an Egg
1
Boiling an Egg
Consider a spherical homogeneous egg of specific heat capacity
c
, density
, thermal conductivity
a
(all constants). Its initial temperature is
egg
, and it is cooked by immersion in water attime
=
0
which keeps the surface temperature constant at
water
thereafter.
The Thermal Diffusion Equation
A spherical shell of material, radius
<
a
and thickness
r
, has a radial thermal resistance
R
andtotal heat capacity
given by
=
4
r
2
c
r
and
R
=
r
4
r
2
. (1,2)Conservation of energy requires that, in terms of these quantities,
Tr
+
r
,
( )
"
Tr
,
( )
=

Q r
,
( )
Rr
,
( )
(3)
Tr
,
+
( )
"
Tr
,
( )
[ ]
=

Q r
"
r
,
( )
"

Q r
,
( )
[ ]
(4)and taking limits as
"
0
and
"
0
gives
d
r
d
R
r
"

#

\$

%

&

'
=
4
r
2
r
"

#

\$

%

&

'
=

Q r
,
( )
andd
d
r
"

#

\$

%

&

'
=
4
c
r
2
"

#

\$

%

&

'
=

Q
r
"

#

\$

%

&

'

(5,6)and therefore, eliminating the radial heat flux
Q
,
rr
2
r
"

#

\$

%

&

'
=
0
r
2
a
2
"

#

\$

%

&

'

where
0
=
c
a
2
(7)which is a special case of the thermal diffusion equation.
Solving the Diffusion Equation
The solution to equation 7 is found with an expansion in spherical waves of wave number
r
,
( )
=
B
r
exp
i
"
kr
[ ]
( )
(8)which must satisfy equation 7,
i.e.

!
r
2
2
=
0
r
2
a
2
i
( )
\$
r
,
( )
=
B
r
exp
!
ikr
( )
exp
!
2
a
2
0
( )
. (9,10)The physically significant solutions are real and must also be finite at
=
0
so

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