3 Ways That Heat Can Be Transferred

by Carson

Do you know there are 3 ways heat can be transmitted from one place to another? Explore the ways of heat transfer in this article.

Table of Contents

  1. Conduction
  2. Convection
  3. Radiation

1. Conduction

Place a plastic spoon and a metal spoon inside a cup of hot water, and then touch both spoons. Which spoon feels hotter? It’s undoubtedly the metallic spoon. That is because conduction is taking place, in which heat energy is transmitted from atom to atom through direct physical contact, like a sound wave.

The speed of conduction depends on the material in direct contact with the heated object. For instance, metals are good conductors because of the presence of free valence electrons so that energy can be transferred easily. On the other hand, many other substances such as gases are insulators, which are poor conductors.

2. Convection

You all know that fluids that are less dense tend to rise to the top if they’re surrounded by fluids that are more dense, right? Hot fluids are generally less dense than cold fluids of the same type. Therefore, the heated fluids rise to the top and transfer heat from one place to another. This process is known as convection.

3. Radiation

Do you know why you get warmth from the Sun? That’s because some of the thermal energy from the Sun has been transferred to our planet using radiation. In fact, all objects with a temperature greater than absolute zero emit some electromagnetic radiation due to their temperature, enabling the transfer of heat.

That’s why albedo plays a role in determining a planet’s temperature. If two planets are of the same distance from the same star, the planet with the lower albedo will be hotter because it absorbs more radiation that reaches it, causing the transfer of heat, making the planet heat up.


In this short article, the 3 ways of heat transfer are explained. Remember that these methods are conduction, convection, and radiation. Please visit the webpages in the references below if you want to learn more.


  1. (n.d.). The Transfer of Heat Energy. Retrieved January 22, 2022, from https://www.weather.gov/jetstream/heat
  2. Fitzpatrick, R. (2007, July 14.) Conductors and Insulators. Retrieved January 22, 2022, from https://farside.ph.utexas.edu/teaching/316/lectures/node13.html
  3. (2015, May 7). When You’re Hot You’re Hot…Unless You’re Not! Retrieved January 22, 2022, from https://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/educators/gammaraybursts/imagine/page18.html
  4. (n.d.). Albedo. Retrieved January 22, 2022, from https://astronomy.swin.edu.au/cosmos/a/Albedo

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