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12/14/2013

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# PHYxxxx Everyday Physics

Boiling an Egg

Boiling an Egg
Consider a spherical homogeneous egg of specific heat capacity c, density !, thermal conductivity " and radius a (all constants). Its initial temperature is Tegg, and it is cooked by immersion in water at time t = 0 which keeps the surface temperature constant at Twater thereafter. The Thermal Diffusion Equation A spherical shell of material, radius r < a and thickness #r, has a radial thermal resistance #R and total heat capacity #C given by
!C = " 4 #r 2c!r

and !R = !r 4 #r 2\$ .

(1,2)

Conservation of energy requires that, in terms of these quantities,

 T ( r + !r,t ) " T ( r,t ) = Q( r,t )!R( r,t )
  [T (r,t + !t) " T (r,t )]!C = [Q(r " !r,t ) " Q(r,t )]!t

(3) (4)

and taking limits as ! r " 0 and !t " 0 gives " !Q %  dr " !T % dC " !T % 2 " !T % 2 " !T %  \$ ' = 4 ()r \$ ' = Q( r,t ) and \$ ' = 4 (c*r \$ ' = \$ ' # !r & # ! t & # !r & dR # !r & dr # !t & (5,6)

 and therefore, eliminating the radial heat flux Q ,
! " 2 ! T % ( 0 r 2 " !T % 2 ' = 2 \$ ' where ( 0 = c)a * \$r !r # ! r & a # !t &
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 k (7)

Tk ( r,t ) =
which must satisfy equation 7, i.e.

Bk exp(i[!t " kr]) r

(8)

!r 2 k 2Tk =

" 0r 2

a

2

(i#Tk )

\$ Tk ( r,t ) =

Bk exp(!ikr) exp !k 2 a 2 t " 0 . r

(

)

(9,10)

The physically significant solutions are real and must also be finite at r = 0 so 1

PHYxxxx Everyday Physics

Boiling an Egg

T ( r,t ) = Twater + Tegg ! Twater

(

)

!1) 2a +( N "r N =1

*

N !1

# N"r & # !N 2" 2 t & sin% ( ( exp% \$ a ' \$ )0 '

(11)

where the amplitudes have been selected to satisfy the boundary conditions:

T ( r < a,0) = Tegg ; T ( a,0) = Twater ; T ( r,!) = Twater .
Applying the Solution Terms in equation 11 with N > 1 decay rapidly so when t > 0.1! 0
T ( r,t ) ! Twater + Tegg " Twater

(12a-c)

(

)

2a \$ #r ' \$ "# 2 t ' sin& ) exp& ). #r % a ( % * 0 (

(13)

We consider the egg to be ‘cooked’ when the yolk–white boundary is at temperature Tyolk . As the yolk comprises 33% of the egg this means that Tyolk = T (0.69a,t cooked ) \$ "! 2 t ' Tyolk " Twater !0.69 cooked = exp& ) 2sin(0.69!) Tegg " Twater #0 ( % so
t cooked = !M
2/3

( (

) )

(14)

\$ Tegg # Twater log e &0.76 " & Tyolk # Twater %

( (

)' ) )) (

where ! =

c* 1/ 3

+ 2, ( 4 + 3)

2/3

(15,16)

Approximate values (derived from S. L. Polley, O. P. Snyder and P. Kotnour, Food Technol. 34(11) (1980) 76-94.) for the thermal properties needed to calculate ! are:

c
Yolk White 2.7 J g!1 K!1 3.7 J g!1 K!1

!
3.4 !10"3 W cm"1 K"1 5.4 !10"3 W cm"1 K"1

!
1.032 g cm!3 1.038 g cm!3

!

( ) 27 (s g!2 3 )
31 s g!2 3