Many metals, like silver, copper, gold and aluminum, are good thermal conductors. Thermal conductors are materials that heat passes through easily. Conduction, or the transfer of heat, can take place within a single material or between two objects.Know More
Heat can only travel from a hot material to a cold material. It does not travel in the opposite direction. Materials that do not pass heat easily are known as thermal insulators. Insulators include plastic, wood, rubber and glass. Often, objects that are used to transfer heat are made of metal but have an insulator as a handle. A saucepan is an example of an object that is both a conductor and an insulator. The metal part of the pan is a conductor that allows heat to quickly pass from the stove to the food inside the pan. The metal part of the pan, however, it is too hot to touch without receiving burns. That is why most handles are made of insulators, such as plastic or wood.
Potholders and oven gloves also function as insulators. Some materials, like glass, operate as insulators at room temperature but as conductors when heated to high temperatures. Gases like air also become more conductive when heated to higher temperatures. Metals, when heated, do not conduct heat as well as they do when cooled. Many conductive materials operate better at very low temperatures.Learn more about Thermodynamics
Hot air rises because when a substance is hot, its molecules are farther apart, which makes the hot air less dense and, therefore, lighter than cooler air. Air is generally warmer nearer the surface of the Earth because of the sun's radiating heat. When hot air rises, it starts to get cooler and eventually it sinks back down to the surface.Full Answer >
Metals conduct heat well for two reasons: metal ions pack very closely together in their molecular lattice, and electrons drifting through the metal carry kinetic energy around the lattice. The result is a quick elevation in particle motion that is expressed through heat energy. This conductivity is one reason why one rarely sees metal playground equipment anymore — although the slides go a lot faster than plastic ones, sitting on a slide on a hot summer afternoon is often quite painful.Full Answer >
Copper conducts heat well because its atoms contain only one free valence electrons in the outer shell. Elements with a low number of valence electrons transfer heat the best, and copper has only one.Full Answer >
Heat is related to thermal energy as the process of transferring thermal energy from one object or substance to another, according to UC Davis. The amount of thermal energy in an object or substance is directly proportional to its temperature, while heat is responsible for many changes in temperature.Full Answer >