Forms of Heat Transfer
Under the kinetic theory, the internal energy of a substance is generated from the motion of individual atoms or molecules. Heat energy is the form of energy which transfers this energy from one body or system to another. This heat transfer can take place in a number of ways:
- Conduction is when heat flows through a heated solid.
- Convection is when heated particles transfer heat to another substance, such as cooking something in boiling water.
- Radiation is when heat is transferred through electromagnetic waves, such as from the sun. Radiation can transfer heat through empty space, while the other two methods require some form of matter-on-matter contact for the transfer.
Normally, of course, you do not feel the heat from the oven when you're several feet away and that is because the oven has thermal insulation to keep the heat inside of it, thus preventing thermal contact with the outside of the oven. This is of course not perfect, so if you stand nearby you do feel some heat from the oven.
Thermal equilibrium is when two items that are in thermal contact no longer transfer heat between them.
Effects of Heat TransferThe basic effect of heat transfer is that the particles of one substance collide with the particles of another substance. The more energetic substance will typically lose internal energy (i.e. "cool down") while the less energetic substance will gain internal energy (i.e. "heat up").
The most blatant effect of this in our day-to-day life is a phase transition, where a substance changes from one state of matter to another, such as ice melting from a solid to a liquid as it absorbs heat. The water contains more internal energy (i.e. the water molecules are moving around faster) than in the ice.
In addition, many substances go through either thermal expansion or thermal contraction as they gain and lose internal energy. Water (and other liquids) often expands as it freezes, which anyone who has put a drink with a cap in the freezer for too long has discovered.