metals are cooler to touch than wood.

Sorry about this Cece, but your explanation as to why metals are cooler (or hotter), as the case (or climate), may be, isnt up to your usual mark.

In cold weather, metals would be cooler than say, wood, rubber, cloth, or any other poor conducter of heat because of a quality called Specific Heat Capacity- which is linked to the heat conductive properties of metals. The reason why metal would be cold to the touch, is that upon contact with human skin, the metal quickly absorbs latent from the human body, which is at a higher temperature. The reverse is true when say, if you touch the hood of car thats been parked in the sun for a while, you’ll wind up feeling like a bit of a fool. This is because the metal quickly transmits its own latent heat to the distended appendage in question (lets call it a hand).

Get with the program, schmuck.:smack:

Welcome to the Straight Dope. The column you’re referencing is Why do metal objects feel colder than wooden ones? (17-Feb-1984). The same objection was raised before in this thread. You are correct that specific heat capacity is important in determining how quickly heat energy is transferred through the object. However, if you examine my post in the linked thread, you’ll see that, although the thermal conductivity of woods and metals differs by around three orders of magnitude, the heat capacity for woods and metals is about the same [1120 - 1680 kJ/(m[sup]3[/sup]*K) for woods, and 1314 - 1706 kJ/(m[sup]3[/sup]*K) for iron and aluminum].

So, for the question as posed (“Why do metal objects feel colder than wooden ones?”), the answer Cecil gives (thermal conductivity) is correct.

And be careful using the word latent with the word heat. Latent heat is a specific concept in chemistry, applied to the heat required to change the phase state of a material. A more appropriate word for your usage above would be “stored”.

I think it’s much cooler to touch jello or a celebrity you’ve been stalking or a…


Oh. Nevermind.


slime is even cooler to (the) touch.