Why Does Wa­ter Feel So Cold?

Science Illustrated - - ASK US -

A 15-de­gree day is cold but not ex­treme, but wa­ter of the same tem­per­a­ture is al­most un­bear­able. It's be­cause wa­ter’s abil­ity to con­duct heat is greater than that of air, “steal­ing” heat faster from the body. The op­po­site is also true, if the tem­per­a­ture is higher than that of the body.

Ma­te­ri­als' heat con­duc­tiv­ity de­pends very much on tem­per­a­ture and on the type of ma­te­rial. Many met­als' con­duc­tiv­ity is high, as elec­trons are free to trans­fer the heat rapidly. In other solids, the heat is pri­mar­ily trans­ferred by atomic lat­tice os­cil­la­tion.

Wa­ter “steals” heat more quickly from your body than air does.

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