Difference Between Conduction, Convection and Radiation

Main Difference

The main difference between conduction, convection, and radiation is that conduction happens due to physical contact of solid when the temperature is increased; convection is a movement of heat energy within the liquid and radiation is a flow of heat energy due to electromagnetic waves.

Conduction vs. Convection vs. Radiation

Conduction is the 1st phase of heat transference that occurs by raising the temperature of solid in direct contact of heat. Convection is the 2nd phase of heat transference that occurs due to the flow of liquid vibrating molecules upon heating. Radiation is the 3rd phase of heat transference that occurs in every state of matter when temperature increases from 0 Kelvin. The heat travels via electromagnetic waves in radiation.

Comparison Chart

ConductionConvectionRadiation
Conduction is the process of transference of heat due to direct physical contact with solids. This transference of energy is somberly based on the solid medium.Convection is the process of flow of heat energy due to the flow of liquid molecules. This transference of energy is somberly based on the motion of the liquid medium.Radiation is the process of flow of heat energy in the form of electromagnetic waves. It does not burn and does not require any physical contact or flow of matter in particular.
Occurrence
Phenomena of conduction occur in solids.Phenomena of convection occur in liquids.Occurs in the form of electromagnetic waves.
Rapidity
SlowestSlowQuick
Transference
By physical contact of solids.By the flow of the liquid molecule.By electromagnetic waves.
Characterize
The flow of heat energy between solid substances.The flow of heat energy within the liquid.The flow of heat energy via electromagnetic waves.
Cause
Increase in temperature.Increase in density.Increase in temperature.
Follows
No lawNo lawRadiation does follow both laws of reflection and the law of refraction.
Involvement
Physical contact of solids.the flow of liquid matter.Electromagnetic waves.

What is Conduction?

Conduction is the process of transference of heat due to direct physical contact with solids. This transference of energy is somberly based on the solid medium. Conductions is happened due to the change in temperature, i.e. increase in temperature. This phenomenon depicts the flow of heat energy between solid substances in direct contact. Transference of heat energy in conduction is carried out by physical contact of solids substances at high temperature. Heat energy travels at a relatively slow speed in conduction as compared to convention and radiation both. Heat is passed due to the physical contact and vibrating motion of colliding solid molecules at high temperature. We often heard people metal is a very good conductor of heat whereas plastic is not that much effective in conducting heat. This variance is due to the difference between the natures of solids. Conduction a lot emphasize on the solid is in the contact when the temperature is raised. The solids like metal have stronger intermolecular forces of attraction that tightly bind all of them together, whenever the temperature is rises of metal with direct physical contact, due to the vibration of tightly packed molecules of metal heat energy is carried and transferred all around the body of the metal itself.

Example

The basic example of conduction includes heating a metal pan on the stove under fire. As the temperature rises, the heat energy is transferred all over the pan.

What is Convection?

Convection is the process of flow of heat energy due to the flow of liquid molecules. This transference of energy is somberly based on the motion of the liquid medium. The process of convection involves the flow of liquid matter at high temperature. Convection occurs due to the change in the density of a liquid, i.e. increase in density. Transference of heat energy in convection is carried out by the flow of liquid molecule at high temperature. It is solemnly within the liquid. Heat energy in the convection process travel at relatively slow speed as compared to radiation and quicker in contrast to conduction. Heat energy is passed due to the flow of vibrating liquid molecules at high temperature. Heat energy travels within the fluid. Convection is the second phase when it comes to three heat conversion phases. Whenever the temperature of a liquid matter is increasing upon heating or natural increase, the fluid molecules starts vibrating rapidly which causes in the increase of density of the liquid to which the heat travels all around the liquid justifying the phenomena of convection. Convection does not follow the law of reflection and the law of refraction

Example

Continuing the example of the metal pan heated on the stove, if the liquid is present in the pan over the fire. The liquid on the increase in temperature will start boiling, and the heat energy will be transferred all around the liquid. This phenomenon depicts convection.

What is Radiation?

Radiation is the process of flow of heat energy in the form of electromagnetic waves. It does not burn and does not require any physical contact or flow of matter in particular. The process of radiation only involves the presence of radio waves, i.e. electromagnetic waves. Radiation process does follow both the law of reflection and the law of refraction. It is usually occurred due to a slight increase in temperature. It occurs in all states of matter possessing a temperature of more than 0 Kelvin. Heat energy travels at relatively high speed in radiation as compared to convention and conduction both. It is mainly due to no requirement of physical contact and flow of fluid thus depicts the flow of heat energy via electromagnetic waves. It occurs in the form of radio waves so indirectly gaseous occurrence is justified as well. Radiation is the final of three phases of heat transference. Unlike conduction and convection, radiation does not transfer heat that causes burn when contacted it is the flow of energy only via electromagnetic waves.

Example

The vapors or steam coming out of boiling water in the pan is the demonstration of radiation. The heat energy travels in the form of electromagnetic waves in the surrounding atmosphere.

Key Differences

  • Conduction is a transference of heat energy by direct contact of solids whereas Convection is a transference of heat energy due to the motion of liquid matter and Radiation is a transference of heat energy because of electromagnetic waves.
  • Conduction is specified to solids whereas Convection is specified to liquids and Radiation is unspecified to any state of matters and can occur in all.
  • Conduction is slower than convection and radiation whereas Convection is quick then conduction but slower than radiation and Radiation is quickest of all.

Comparison Video

YouTube video

Conclusion

Conduction occurs due to an increase in temperature in solids when in physical contact, convection is a movement of heat energy within liquid due to molecular motion and radiation is a transference of heat energy in surrounding via electromagnetic waves.

Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss

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