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Question
An ice cube is placed in a cup of hot water. Which of the following statements correctly describes energy transfer at the molecular level?
  1. Kinetic energy is transferred only from the hot water molecules to the water molecules in the ice.
  2. Kinetic energy is transferred only from the water molecules in the ice to the hot water molecules.
  3. Kinetic energy is transferred mostly from the hot water molecules to the water molecules in the ice.
  4. Kinetic energy is transferred mostly from the water molecules in the ice to the hot water molecules.
Question by OpenStax is licensed under CC BY 4.0.
Solution Video

OpenStax College Physics for AP® Courses Solution, Chapter 14, Problem 1 (Test Prep for AP® Courses) (0:40)

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Video Transcript
This is College Physics Answers with Shaun Dychko. Heat is always being transferred between two objects. So when you have a hot object next to a cold object, it is not true to say that only the hot object gives energy to the cold thing. Even though that is the net result, what's actually happening is that there's a little bit of energy, thermal energy, coming from the cold thing, and lot's of thermal energy coming from the hot thing. So, the answer to this question is C. Kinetic energy is transferred mostly from the hot water to the cold water, or to the ice, I should say.