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Heat transfer

Heat energy can be transferred by radiation, conduction or

Thermal radiation is the transfer of heat energy by
electromagnetic waves
Conduction and convection involves the transfer of energy by
Conduction is the main form of heat transfer in solids
Convection is the main form of heat transfer in liquids and
Emission of thermal radiation occurs in solids, liquids and
gases. Any object can both absorb and emit heat radiation,
whether or not conduction or convection are also taking place
The bigger the temperature difference, the faster heat is
transferred between a body and its surroundings

Thermal radiation In a parked car

Heat radiation can also be called infrared radiation and it

consists of electromagnetic waves of a certain range of
All objects are continually emitting and absorbing heat
An object thats hotter than its surroundings emits more
radiation than it absorbs
An object that is cooler than its surroundings absorbs more
radiation than it emits

Conduction A metal pot with boiling water

In a solid, the particles are tightly held together. When one

particle vibrates, it collides with other nearby particles and
the vibrations quickly pass from particle to particle
This process continues throughout the solid and gradually
some of the extra kinetic energy (heat) is passed all the
way through the solid, causing a rise in temperature at the
other side of the solid. And hence an increase in heat
radiating from its surface
Conduction of heat is the process where vibrating
particles pass on their extra kinetic energy to
neighboring particles

Convection kettle, hot water tanks

Gases and liquids are usually free to move about which

allows them to transfer heat by convection

Convection occurs when the more energetic

particles move from the hotter region to the cooler
region and take the heat energy with them
This is how immersion heaters work:

1. Heat energy is transferred from the heater coils to

the water by conduction
2. The particles near the coils get more energy so they
start moving around faster
3. This means there is more distance between them, i.e.
the water expands and becomes less dens
4. This reduction in density means the hotter water
tends to rise above the denser, cooler water
5. As the hot water rises it displaces the colder water
out of the way making it sink towards the heater coils
6. This cold water is then heated by coils and rises the
process goes on and on. You end up with convection
*Convection works best in round/square containers
*Convection currents are changes in density
Insulation in humans and homes

In the cold, the hairs on your skin stand up to trap a

thicker layer of insulating air around the body. This limits
the amount of heat loss by convection
Humans wear clothes to reduce heat transfer. The
pockets of air trapped in clothes and between layers
mainly reduce heat transfer by conduction and
convection because air is an insulator
Clothes also reduce heat loss by radiation from the body
as the material absorbs some heat radiated out by our
Cavity wall insulation: foam squirted into the gap
between the bricks stops convection currents being set
up in the gap and radiation across the gap. The
insulating foam and the air pockets trapped in it also
helps reduce heat loss by conduction

Double glazing: two layers of glass with a narrow air

(insulator) gap which reduces conduction and
Draught-proofing: strips of foam and plastic around
doors and windows stop draughts of cold air blowing in.
this reduces heat loss due to convection