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Teacher/Instructor Matt Jones
Matt Jones

M.Ed., George Washington University
Dept. chair at a high school

Matt is currently the department chair at a high school in San Francisco. In his spare time, Matt enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife and two kids.

Conduction is a type of thermal energy transfer involving direct contact. The more tightly packed the molecules within a substance are, the more conductive the substance is.

Have you ever tried to take a metal part to turn a stove off with your bare hands? If you have you may have gotten burned but hopefully you that part had a firm handle on it or maybe you use some hot pads some, some gloves that helped get it off without burning your hands. Well these are examples of conduction so that metal part on the stove is a really good conductor and that conduction is basically because those molecules are packed tightly together and their electrons are somewhat loose configuration, it can easily pass that kinetic energy from one atom to another so that metal part is going to very quickly pass those, those molecules up to the handle and unto your hands and you're going to get burned.

The foam handle or the pads you're using, those were examples of good insulators. Those are things that don't conduct very well and generally they're things that have much lower density and more air between them. Air is a very good insulator, the molecules and gases are spread out and they're not bouncing to each other very well and pass on that heat energy so when we talk about conduction, we're talking about the ability of a material to transfer energy through direct contact and in solid especially solids like silver and copper those tightly packed molecules with those loose outer electrons can bump very quickly and pass that energy from one to another they're very good conductors.

Gases and objects with lower densities don't bump into each other quite as efficiently and are not good conductors and they're good insulators those things that will prevent heat from being passed quickly from one point to another so this is all basically how we can understand conduction and how conduction works.