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  • Calculate thermal conductivity.
  • Observe conduction of heat in collisions.
  • Study thermal conductivities of common substances.
The figure shows an insulated wooden partition in a house. The partition is insulated because it encapsulates a cloth-type material.
Insulation is used to limit the conduction of heat from the inside to the outside (in winters) and from the outside to the inside (in summers). (credit: Giles Douglas)

Your feet feel cold as you walk barefoot across the living room carpet in your cold house and then step onto the kitchen tile floor. This result is intriguing, since the carpet and tile floor are both at the same temperature. The different sensation you feel is explained by the different rates of heat transfer: the heat loss during the same time interval is greater for skin in contact with the tiles than with the carpet, so the temperature drop is greater on the tiles.

Some materials conduct thermal energy faster than others. In general, good conductors of electricity (metals like copper, aluminum, gold, and silver) are also good heat conductors, whereas insulators of electricity (wood, plastic, and rubber) are poor heat conductors. [link] shows molecules in two bodies at different temperatures. The (average) kinetic energy of a molecule in the hot body is higher than in the colder body. If two molecules collide, an energy transfer from the molecule with greater kinetic energy to the molecule with less kinetic energy occurs. The cumulative effect from all collisions results in a net flux of heat from the hot body to the colder body. The heat flux thus depends on the temperature difference Δ Τ = Τ hot T cold size 12{ΔΤ=Τ rSub { size 8{"hot"} } - T rSub { size 8{"cold"} } } {} . Therefore, you will get a more severe burn from boiling water than from hot tap water. Conversely, if the temperatures are the same, the net heat transfer rate falls to zero, and equilibrium is achieved. Owing to the fact that the number of collisions increases with increasing area, heat conduction depends on the cross-sectional area. If you touch a cold wall with your palm, your hand cools faster than if you just touch it with your fingertip.

The figure shows a vertical line labeled “surface” that divides the figure in two. Just below the line is a horizontal rightward wavy arrow labeled Q, heat conduction. The area left of the surface line is labeled higher temperature and the area right of the surface line is labeled lower temperature. One spherical object, labeled “high energy before collision” is on the left bottom side, with an arrow from it pointing to the right and up toward the vertical midpoint of the surface line. There is another spherical object at the top left side close to the surface line with an arrow from it pointing to the left and up. A third spherical object labeled “low energy before collision” appears on the right top side with an arrow pointing from it to the left and down toward the vertical midpoint of the surface line. There is a final spherical object at the lower right side close to the surface line with an arrow pointing from it to the right and down. There are dotted lines coming from all the four particles, merging at the midpoint on the surface line.
The molecules in two bodies at different temperatures have different average kinetic energies. Collisions occurring at the contact surface tend to transfer energy from high-temperature regions to low-temperature regions. In this illustration, a molecule in the lower temperature region (right side) has low energy before collision, but its energy increases after colliding with the contact surface. In contrast, a molecule in the higher temperature region (left side) has high energy before collision, but its energy decreases after colliding with the contact surface.

A third factor in the mechanism of conduction is the thickness of the material through which heat transfers. The figure below shows a slab of material with different temperatures on either side. Suppose that T 2 size 12{T rSub { size 8{2} } } {} is greater than T 1 size 12{T rSub { size 8{1} } } {} , so that heat is transferred from left to right. Heat transfer from the left side to the right side is accomplished by a series of molecular collisions. The thicker the material, the more time it takes to transfer the same amount of heat. This model explains why thick clothing is warmer than thin clothing in winters, and why Arctic mammals protect themselves with thick blubber.

Questions & Answers

A charge of 1.6*10^-6C is placed in a uniform electric field in a density 2*5^10Nc^-1, what is the magnitude of the electric force exerted on the charge?
Omotosho Reply
what's phenomena
Enoch Reply
Phenomena is an observable fact or event.
Prove that 1/d+1/v=1/f
James Reply
What interference
Moyinoluwa Reply
What is a polarized light called?
what is a half life
Mama Reply
the time taken for a radioactive element to decay by half of its original mass
what is radioactive element
Half of the total time required by a radioactive nuclear atom to totally disintegrate
radioactive elements are those with unstable nuclei(ie have protons more than neutrons, or neutrons more than protons
in other words, the radioactive atom or elements have unequal number of protons to neutrons.
state the laws of refraction
state laws of reflection
Why does a bicycle rider bends towards the corner when is turning?
When do we say that the stone thrown vertically up wards accelerate negatively?
Give two importance of insulator placed between plates of a capacitor.
Macho had a shoe with a big sole moving in mudy Road, shanitah had a shoe with a small sole. Give reasons for those two cases.
when was the name taken from
Biola Reply
retardation of a car
when was the name retardation taken
did you mean a motion with velocity decreases uniformly by the time? then, the vector acceleration is opposite direction with vector velocity
Atomic transmutation
Basirat Reply
An atom is the smallest indivisible particular of an element
mosco Reply
what is an atomic
Awene Reply
reference on periodic table
Titus Reply
what Is resonance?
Mozam Reply
phenomena of increasing amplitude from normal position of a substance due to some external source.
What is a black body
Amey Reply
Black body is the ideal body can absorb and emit all radiation
the emissivity of black body is 1. it is a perfect absorber and emitter of heat.
Why is null measurement accurate than standard voltmeter
Neemat Reply
that is photoelectric effect ?
Sabir Reply
It is the emission of electrons when light hits a material
is not just a material
it is the surface of a metal
what is the formula for time of flight ,maxjmum height and range
agangan Reply
what is an atom
an atom is the smallest particle of a element which can take part in chemical reaction.
Practice Key Terms 3

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Source:  OpenStax, College physics. OpenStax CNX. Jul 27, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11406/1.9
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