I'd like to ask you how does conduction happen ? I mean, the atoms vibrating more hits the less vibrating atoms and gives energy. But how is that energy transferred ? For atoms to collide they must be very fast which that ends up fusion but it's not the case. I pressume that energy is transferred by a field that accelerates and cause them to vibrate more and that is charge of the atoms I think. So can anyone cast light on this ?

  • $\begingroup$ Atoms collide all the time and very frequently, see here: chemwiki.ucdavis.edu/Physical_Chemistry/Kinetics/… As in all collisions, momentum/kinetic energy can be transferred from one atom/molecule to the other. $\endgroup$
    – Gert
    Jan 9, 2016 at 16:50
  • $\begingroup$ @Gert It says <code>In order for molecules to react, a physical chemist named Svante Arrhenius explained, the colliding molecules must possess enough kinetic energy to overcome the repulsive and bonding forces of the reactants.' So they don't collide, they just slipp off. $\endgroup$
    – agcgn
    Jan 9, 2016 at 18:20
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    $\begingroup$ What you describe are reactive collisions (chemistry), not elastic ones. $\endgroup$
    – Gert
    Jan 9, 2016 at 18:52

1 Answer 1


Imagine two spheres of equal mass. One is stationary, the other has velocity $v$. If they get close enough, they "collide" and some of the momentum and energy of the moving sphere is transferred to the stationary sphere. That is the basic mechanism.

The assumption is that gas molecules can be treated as spheres that collide elastically. This is true at "ordinary" temperatures (before gas turns into plasma - because in a plasma the energy of collision is so high that electrons are knocked off). Electrons are bound fairly tightly to their molecules - on the order of eV. In contrast, the typical energy of a gas atom is on the order of $kT$ which is about 1/40th of an eV at room temperature. Gas atoms have a velocity distribution which means there is a very small probability of a really energetic atom; but that probability is negligible at room temperature.


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