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Heat, Temperature, and Thermal Energy Transfer

Define heat and temperature and convert between temperature scales

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Conduction Cooking

Conduction Cooking

Credit: Frettie
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Preparing_grill_for_grilling,_grill_with_flames_and_cones.jpg
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Conduction stove tops transfer heat through direct contact with the pot or pan that is being used. The heat transfer is done via direct contact with either a flame or a grill. This explains why you have to stir and flip any food that is being cooked in a pan because only the flat surface of the pot or pan is hot enough to cook any amount of food thoroughly.

Amazing But True

  • Conduction is one of the three possible methods of thermal transfer. 
  • Conduction is the process that thermal energy is transferred via interactions of atoms or molecules. 
  • An example of conduction would be when a solid metal bar is heated at one end. As the bar is heated, the atoms at the point where the heat is being applied begin to vibrate with a greater average kinetic energy. As these atoms vibrate, they collide with neighboring atoms, transferring some of their energy. In this fashion, the heat is transferred down the solid metal bar.
  • The rate at which heat can be transferred across a material is proportional to the material's thermal conductivity. The transfer of heat via conduction occurs in the direction of decreasing temperature because higher temperatures are a result of a higher average kinetic energy.
  • Watch how the flow of heat depends on the materials used below: 


Show What You’ve Learned

Using the information provided above, answer the following questions.

  1. You have two pots sitting over an open flame. One pot is made of steel while the other pot is made of solid glass. After 10 minutes of being over the fire, you attempt to remove the pots from the flame. Which of the two pots do you expect to be hotter and why?
  2. Most stove top pots and pans have a plastic or wooden handle. What does this suggest about the handle's thermal conductivity?
  3. Would you expect the outside structure of a house to have a high or low thermal conductivity value?

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