Heat conduction (as opposed to electrical conduction) is the flow of internal energy from a region of higher temperature to one of lower temperature by the interaction of the adjacent particles (atoms, molecules, ions, electrons, etc.) in the intervening space.
Note: it's the rate (Φ) at which heat is transferred, not the amount (Q) of heat transferred.
Factors affecting the rate of heat transfer by conduction.
Fourier's law (compare to Ohm's law)
|Φ =||P||=||ΔQ||= − k ∇T|
Conductivities vary for material being greatest for metallic solids, lower for nonmetallic solids, very low for liquids, and extremely low for gases. The best ordinary metallic conductors are (in decreasing order) silver, copper, gold, aluminum, beryllium, and tungsten. Diamond beats them all, and graphite beats diamond only if the heat can be forced to conduct in a direction parallel to the crystal layers. The material with the greatest thermal conductivity is a superfluid form of liquid helium called helium II, which only exists at temperatures below 2.17 K. Since it is highly unlikely you will encounter this substance, it is really not worth thinking about except in the fact that it is an exceptional material.
|material||k (W/m K)||material||k (W/m K)|
|air, sea level||0.025||neoprene||0.15–0.45|
|air, 10,000 m||0.020||nickel||90.7|
|brass (273 K)||120||platinum||71.6|
|bronze (273 K)||110||plywood||0.11|
|carbon, graphite (∥)||1950||polystyrene foam||0.03–0.05|
|carbon, graphite (⊥)||5.7||polyurethane foam||0.02–0.03|
|cotton||0.04||snow (< 273 K)||0.16|
|feathers||0.034||steel, plain (273 K)||45–65|
|fiberglas||0.035||steel, stainless (273 K)||14|
|freon 12, liquid||0.0743||straw||0.05|
|freon 12, vapor||0.00958||teflon||0.25|
|helium I (< 4.2 K)||0.0307||water, ice (223 K)||2.8|
|helium II (< 2.2 K)||~100,000?||water, ice (273 K)||2.2|
|ice cream powder||0.05||water, liquid (273 K)||0.561|
|iron||80.2||water, liquid (373 K)||0.679|
|lead||35.3||water, vapor (273 K)||0.016|
|limestone||1||water, vapor (373 K)||0.025|
Thoughts on conductivity…
Related quantities: r value.
|ΔT = R||Δq||⇒||R =||ℓ|
The clo. studies of clothing have lead to the definition of the unit of clothing, which corresponds to the insulating value of clothing needed to maintain a subject in comfort sitting at rest in a room at 21 ℃ (70 ℉) with air movement of 0.1 m/s and humidity less than 50%. One clo of insulation is equivalent to a lightweight business suit.
Newton's law of cooling Q/t ∝ ΔT. Heat leaks faster from a cool house than a warm house. Thus, it's more cost effective to turn your air conditioner off when you're away, than to leave it on hoping to keep your house cool.