Cooking a Turkey
To demonstrate transient heat transfer, a turkey, which is modeled by a sphere, is cooked in a standard oven. Use sliders to set the mass of the turkey, oven temperature and cooking time. The green dashed line represents the minimum safe temperature for the center of the turkey and the red dashed line represents the maximum acceptable temperature of the outer surface of the turkey. The blue curve represents the temperature profile. When the temperature at the center of the turkey is above the green line, the pop-up timer (green and white) on the turkey goes off. If the center temperature goes above the red line, the turkey catches fire. Use the button to change the units from °C and kg to °F and lbs.

Download the CDF file to view the simulation using the free Wolfram CDF player.


A turkey is modeled as a sphere. The temperature  of the turkey at a distance  from its center at time  is:



where  and  are the oven temperature and temperature of the raw turkey (),  is the thermal diffusivity (), is mass (kg),  is density (),  is time (s) and  is the calculated radius.

 is the root of , where  is the heat transfer coefficient of air () and  is the thermal conductivity ().