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Conduction heat transfer definition and examples

What are three types of heat transfer?

“when two bodies at different temperature are in thermal contact with each other,thermal energy from a hot body flows to a cold body in the form of heat.This is called heat transfer.”diagram of heat transfer methods

Transfer of heat is a natural process.It continues all the time as long as the bodies in thermal contact are at different temperature.There are three ways by which transfer of heat takes place.These are given below in the list:

Watch video about heat transfer methods:

How heat energy is transferred by Conduction?

“The mode of transfer of heat by vibrating atoms and free electrons in solids from hot to cold parts of a body is called conduction of heat.”

The handle of metal spoon held in hot water soon gets warm.But in case of a wooden spoon,the handle does not get warm.Both the materials behave differently regarding the transfer of heat.Both metals and non metals conduct heat.Metals are generally better conductors than non metals.

How Heat transfer in solids?

In solids,atoms and molecules are packed close together.They continue to vibrate about their mean position.What happens when one of its ends is heated?The atoms or molecules present at that end begin to vibrate more rapidly.They also collide with their neighbouring atoms or molecules.In doing so,they pass some of their energy to neighbouring atoms or molecules during collisions with them will increase in their vibrations.These atoms or molecules in tern pass on a part of the energy to their neighbouring particles.In this way some heat reaches the other parts of the solids.This is a slow process and very small transfer of heat takes place from hot to cold parts in solids.

How do metals differ from non-metals in terms of conducting heat?

Metals have free electrons.These free electrons move with very high velocities within the metal objects.They carry energy at a very fast rate from hot to cold parts of the object as they move.Thus ,heat reaches the cold parts of the metals objects from its hard parts much more quickly than non metals.

All metals are good conductors of heat.The substances through which heat does not conduct easily are called bad conductors or insulators. Wood,cork,cotton,wool,glass,rubber,etc are bad conductors or insulators.

Application of conduction of heat:

Thermal conductivity:

“The rate of flow of heat across the opposite faces of a meter cube of a substance maintained at a temperature difference of one kelvin is called thermal conductivity of that substance.”image of thermal conductivity

Conduction of heat occurs at different rates in different materials.In metals heat flows rapidly as compared to insulators such as wood or rubber.Consider a solid block :

One of its two opposite faces each of cross sectional area A is heated to temperature T1. Heat Q flows along its length L to opposite face at temperature T2 in t seconds.

“The amount of heat that flows in unit time is called the rate of flow of heat.”

Thus Rate of flow of heat = Q/t……….(1)

It is observed that the rate at which heat flows through a solid object depends upon various factors.

  • Cross sectional area of the solid:

Larger cross sectional area A of a solid contains larger number of molecules and free electrons on each layer parallel to its cross sectional area and hence greater will be the rate of flow of heat through the solids.Thus:

Rate of flow of heat  Q/t ∝  A …..(2)

  • Length of the solid:

Larger is the length between the hot and cold ends of the solids,more time it will take to conduct heat to the colder end and smaller will be the rate of flow of heat.Thus:

Rate of flow of heat  Q/t ∝  1/L ….(3)

  • Temperature difference between ends:

Greater is the temperature difference ( T1 – T2 ) between hot and cold faces of the solids,greater will be the rate of flow of heat.Thus:

 Rate of flow of heat is Q/t ∝   ( T1 – T2 )….(4)

Combining the above factors,we get:

Q/t  ∝  A  ( T1 -T2  ) /L

Rate of flow of heat Q/t =K A  ( T1 – T2 )/L …..(5)

Here K i s the proportionality constant called thermal conductivity of the solids.Its value depends on the nature of the substance and is different for different materials.From above equation (5),we find K as:

K=Q/t ×L/A ( T1 – T2 ) …..(6)

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