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Summary of conduction, convection and radiation

A summary of the three ways in which thermal energy can be transferred.

Conduction

  • Energy transferred between particles by collisions
  • Fastest when free electrions can move through the material to transfer energy
  • Does not work in a vacuum
  • Works in any medium, but is fastest in solids, particularly metals

Convection

  • Energy transferred through a fluid
  • Convection currents move the energy through the fluid
  • Does not work in solids or in a vacuum

Radiation

  • Energy transferred through electromagnetic radiation
  • Does not require a medium
  • Energy can be transferred through a vacuum