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Heat Transfer

Conduction, Convection,

show understanding that thermal energy is transferred
from a region of higher temperature to a region of lower
describe, in molecular terms, how energy transfer occurs
in solids
describe, in terms of density changes, convection in
explain that energy transfer of a body by radiation does
not require a material medium and the rate of energy
transfer is affected by:
colour and texture of the surface
surface temperature
surface area
apply the concept of thermal energy transfer to everyday
Heat Transfer
Thermal energy flows from a region of
higher temperature to a region of lower
This transfer of energy is called heat transfer
Occurs in 3 ways:
Conduction, Convection, Radiation.
When 2 regions are at the same
temperature, it is in thermal equilibrium.
No nett transfer of thermal energy

Conduction is the process of thermal
energy transfer without any movement of
the material itself.

Process of Conduction
Thermal energy is passed along the rod by the
vibrating molecules.
Molecules pass the vibration to neighboring
Vibration transfers energy from molecule to
molecule until cold end reaches same
temperature as hot end
No net movement of molecule during

http://www.kangwon.ac.kr/~sericc/sci_lab/physics/conduction/conduction.html 5
Conductors and Insulators
Some examples of conductors and insulators:
Good conductors Poor conductors (insulators)
Gold Glass
Silver Stone
Copper Water
Iron Plastics
Brass Wood
Aluminium Polystyrene foam*

* these materials has air pockets. Air is a very good insulator.

Why are metal such good
conductors of heat?
Conduction takes place through vibrating molecules as
well as free electrons in metals.
When heated, free electrons gain energy and move
They move in the spaces between atoms before colliding
with some atoms and transferring energy to them.
Much faster than conduction by vibration of molecules in

non-metals metals 7
Uses of conductors and insulators

Good conductors Insulators

(when heat is to be (Used to reduce heat
transmitted quickly) transfer)

Cooking utensils Mittens/gloves

Heat exchangers Woolen jackets (traps air)
Heat sinks Styrofoam containers

Practice 1

Convection is the transfer of thermal
energy by means of currents in a fluid
fluid: liquid or gas
Convection only occur in fluids because
it involves the bulk movement of fluid.
this movement is known as
convection current

Process of Convection
When a liquid is heated, it
expands, becomes less
dense and floats upwards.
Cold and denser liquid cooler water
is more dense
hotter water is
less dense
moves down to replace the and falls and rises

rising liquid masses.

This cold liquid, in turn,
gets heated up.
This circulation of liquid is
known as convection
The convection current
brings thermal energy to
other parts of the liquid. video
Question Time!
Question: When the water at the top of the test tube is boiling,
has the ice melted? Explain.
The ice does not melt completely
even though the water at the surface is
test tube already boiling.

This is because water is a bad conductor

of heat. Since hot water rises, most of the
glass marble
heat energy from the flame do not get
bunsen flame transferred to the ice due to convection
ice nor conduction.

Hence the bottom of the test tube stays

cool and the region above the flame
becomes warm.
Uses of convection
Electric kettle
heating element is placed at the bottom
the heating element heats up the water at the
This water expands, becomes less dense and
Cooler water from other regions replaces the
rising hot water
The cooler water is heated by the heater and the
process repeats.
A convection current is set up to aid in the 13
transfer of thermal energy in the water.
Uses of convection
Hot Water System
based on convection principle
Consists of a boiler, water
storage tank and cold tank
interconnected by pipes
Convection currents drive hot
water from the top of boiler
into hot water storage tank.
Cold water from storage tank
is drawn down to the boiler
where it in turn becomes
Practice 2
Explain why the air-conditioner is placed
near the ceiling.
the air-conditioner will cool the air around it.
the cooler air will contract, become more
dense and sinks.
the warmer air from other regions will replace
the sinking cool air.
the warmer air is cooled by the air-conditioner
and the process repeats
a convection current is set up that helps to
cool the whole room
Thinking Question:
Life on Earth depends on the energy we
receive from the Sun. Can the thermal energy
reach Earth via conduction or convection?

Radiation is the transfer of thermal energy
without the use of any medium
can transfer across vacuum

The thermal energy is transmitted via the

emission of infrared radiation from the
surface of the body.
all objects radiate some radiant heat

Radiation vs Conduction vs
What is the main heat transfer mechanism that causes the
nichrome wire to heat up?
Nichrome wire

Nichrome wire

Nichrome wire

By conduction By convection By radiation 18

Factors affecting radiation
Properties that increases absorption
of radiation: Ah boy, next time
Black surface wear white colour
Dull/rough surface so you will not feel
large surface area so hot!
high surface temperature

Properties that reduces absorption of

White/shiny surface
Reflect more radiation
smooth surface
small surface temperature
low surface temperature

Good absorbers are also good

Experiment to show factors
affecting radiation

Uses of radiation
To keep cool:
white houses
silvered surfaces
(e.g. car sun shades)

To increase absorption
black, rough surface of stoves and
black painted heat exchanger pipes

Vacuum Flask
Vacuum Flask
Reduces transfer of thermal
energy by conduction, convection
and radiation
Consists of a double-walled glass
container with a vacuum in
Silvered walls on vacuum side
Container supported by foam
plastic, a poor conductor

Vacuum Flask
No heat can enter or leave flask by conduction
or convection across the vacuum
Inner silvered surface reflects radiation from hot
fluids back into flask
Outer silvered surface reflects radiation in
external surroundings away from flask
Foam plastic support and plastic cap minimises
heat transmitted by conduction through thin
glass walls
Plastic cap stops convection and evaporation

Practice 3