why does metal feel cold when you touch it

In general, metals feel colder or hotter to the touch than other materials at the same temperature because they re good thermal conductors. This means they easily transfer heat to colder objects or absorb heat from warmer objects. Your skin can t actually detect the temperature of other objects it only senses its own temperature. When you touch a piece of metal that is colder than your hand, your fingers rapidly lose heat and feel cold and the opposite happens when you touch metal that is hotter than your hand.

Thermal insulators like plastic and wood don t transfer heat as easily. Some metals may also get hotter faster compared to other materials. Metals tend to have a small specific heat capacity, which is a measure of how much energy needs to be added to a material to raise its temperature by 1 degree. A material with a smaller heat capacity will reach a higher temperature after the same amount of energy is added compared to a material with a larger heat capacity.

Polyethylene, a common plastic, has more than twice the heat capacity of most metals. Water also has a very large heat capacity. Rebecca H. (published on 11/16/2016)
One adjective commonly used to describe metals, along with the adjectives like shiny and silvery, is cold. But this doesn t makes any sense when you take the into account. Over a long enough period, everything in the same location will tend* to the same temperature, so any metal must be at the same temperature as its surroundings.

So why does metal feel cold? Metals feel cold because they are. Both the metal blade and wooden handle of a shovel left out in the Sun will be at the same temperature but the blade will feel colder because the metal is a good conductor: it sucks the heat out of your fingers and this heat leaving your fingers is what makes them feel cold.

Fifteen minute timelapse of melting ice cubes. In the video above identical ice cubes placed on a wooden board and a metal heatsink removed from a broken laptop computer melt at vastly different rates. The wood is a poor conductor and so the ice cube takes a long time to melt; the opposite is true for the metal heatsink. * I m using tend in the physics sense of to approach rather than the general public sense of to occur frequently or to look after.

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