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Describe the process of heat transfer by conduction. Include what happens to the molecules that cause the thermal energy to be transferred.

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Conduction is the transfer of heat from two objects that contact each other. This means that the two objects between which heat is transferring must be in relatively close proximity. An example of conduction is when your hand touches a very hot cooking pan. The heat from the pan is transferred directly to your hand. However, this system of transfer between your hand and the pan is also demonstrating radiation because the pot is radiating heat that is being absorbed by your hand. Conduction is a very efficient means of transferring heat due to the fact that less heat dissipates when two objects touch than when heat is being transferred through radiation.

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Imagine that you have a regular piece of metal and you started heating this piece from one of the surfaces, this piece of metal consist of rows of atoms tightly packed with no distance between.
When heat reach the first row of these atoms, they become more energetic (they gain energy) and express that energy in the form of vibration, when the vibrate and due that atoms are tightly packed, vibration is transferred (spread) to the second row of atoms and from the second to the third and so on to the whole metal piece.
I hope i made it little bit clear to you, also you can see images for what i am saying here on; http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/science/aqa_pre_2011/energy/heatrev1.shtml

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Conduction is the heat transfer that exists mostly in metals. Through conduction, thermal energy is considered to be the phonons vibrations in the metal. Therefore, by successive vibrations, as you heat one end of the rod, the other end gets hot. Heat spontaneously tends to flow from a body at a higher temperature to a body at a lower temperature, due to rapid movement of molecules. Read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_conduction.

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