New lesson: Heat Diffusion/Molten Chocolate Cake

We are super excited to launch a new lesson focused on the concept of heat diffusion.

This lesson was developed in collaboration with Harvard SEAS and uses molten chocolate cake to illustrate heat and energy transfer through matter.

Read the description below – it’s now available to request!

I Lava Science: Exploring Heat Diffusion through Molten Chocolate Cake

The heat diffusion constant in water is a physical constant that can be measured (with varying accuracy) in many ways. This lab guides you through the most delicious one! By baking molten chocolate cake, you will study how heat transfers into cake batter as the cake cooks, resulting in a “crust front” that moves toward the center of the cake as the batter gradually reaches the temperature at which it solidifies. By taking temperature measurements along the way, you will be able to calculate the heat diffusion constant of cake batter, and since cake batter is primarily made of water, this will not be far from the heat diffusion constant in water — or so we think, let’s see what diffusion constant you and your classmates arrive at! Ice cream made with liquid nitrogen is made by the opposite process (Part II). The ice cream ingredients are almost instantly cooled down when brought in contact with the liquid nitrogen at -196˚C. Since larger ice crystals do not have time to form, the result is an ice cream that is very smooth in texture.


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