In known as: conduction, convection, and radiation.

In everyday life, in almost
everything you do, thermal energy is almost always being exchanged from one
thing to another. This is known as heat transfer, and it takes place is three
different ways known as: conduction, convection, and radiation. You can see how
all of this works in one space, all at once, when you observe boiling water in
a pot. If you have ever reached down to remove a pot from the stove burner and
burned your hand, you are experiencing heat that the handle has conducted from
the boiling water. In a similar fashion, if you have ever been burnt from the
steam coming from the boiling water, you are experiencing the heat transferring
by convection. The last way heat can transfer is radiation, and when water is
boiling in a pot, and radiation occurs when the stove burner is transferring heat
to the pot to heat up the water. Everything radiates heat based off of its
temperature, a hotter object will radiate more than a colder object. (Machine
Design) While all three methods of heat transfer are not exactly alike, they
all work together to transfer heat as needed.

            The
first method that I will go into depth describing is conduction. Conduction is
very easy to understand when you look at it like a hot object is trying to
share its heat with another object to make it equally hot. The way this works
when speaking about this in molecular terms is molecules with a higher
temperature become excited and start vibrating extremely fast, these molecules
collide with colder, less excited molecules and share a bit of their energy. (Biology
Cabinet) After some time, it should reach an equilibrium where you have two
molecules of equal temperatures. Once this equilibrium has been reached, then
the heat transfer will stop. Because the transferring of heat plays such a
large roll in everyday life, we have found ways to control how quick it
happens. This is where conductors and insulators are used.

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            Conductors
are materials that allow easy transfer of thermal energy through itself. An
example of this is pots being made of metal. Metals are excellent conductors
due to their ability to have their electrons detach from their atoms and travel
freely through themselves. These electrons can carry thermal energy throughout
the metal.  The ions that are left behind
are closely packed together and vibrate constantly at a rate that corresponds
to its temperature. (School Science) However, not all metals conduct heat at
the same rates. For example, copper conducts heat much more efficiently than steel.
There is an equation that will calculate the conduction rate of a material. The
equation is “Q = k ∙ A ∙ (T_hot – T_cold)/d” the variables used stand for
the following: Q=conduction rate (amount of heat transferred in a certain
amount of time), k= barriers thermal conductivity, A= heat-transfer area, T_hot=
temperature of hot region, T_cold= temperature of cold region, and d= the
barriers thickness. (Machine Design) So, sense we have conductors to allow heat
to transfer easily, what do we have to slow this heat transfer down? Insulators
are what we use to slow down the transfer of heat, and due to people not
wanting to get burned, they are everywhere! From the rubber handle on a pot, to
an oven mitt, or even to gloves you would wear in the winter, we use insulators
to keep heat either out or in all the time. Insulators are defined as materials
that resist the transfer of thermal energy. Good insulators include: gases due
to its more spread out molecules not being able to share energy as quickly with
molecules packed closer together, plastic, and wood. Due to conductivity and resistibility
being the inverse of each other, you can calculate the resistibility of a
material by using the inverse of the conduction rate formula that I previously talked
about above.

            Convection
is not as common of a heat transfer as conduction is, but it still happens all
around us, especially in cooking. Convection happens when a liquid is heated
and it moves away from the heat source, carrying the thermal energy with it.
The best way to think of it is water boiling and turning into steam that rises
and disperses into the air.