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I am currently working on homework for my firefighting class. Our current chapter is covering fire behavior and one of our assignments involves assessing heat transfer.

My assignment is to place a metal pan of water on the stove and heat it until it boils. I am then to record what type(s) of heat transfer were responsible for heating the water enough to make it boil. While I was writing up the report, I - without hesitation - wrote that the water heated through convection; but the pan became hot through conduction.

However, after doing a Google search, to ensure that what I wrote made a fair amount of sense; I noticed several illustrations that seemed to point to the pan becoming hot not through conduction but rather through radiation.

So, my question is this, when a metal pan of water is sitting on an electric stove, is the method of heat transfer from the element to the pan primarily conduction or radiation?

The illustration I looked at can be viewed here.

Update: after reviewing several other illustrations, I determined that I looked at them wrong additionally. However, because of the nature of the question, I wish to keep it open.

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  • $\begingroup$ @CountTo10 I'll see if I can find them again. It might just be that I'm really horrible at "reading" illustrations. $\endgroup$ – L.B. Nov 1 '16 at 0:46
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    $\begingroup$ Its a terribly misleading illustration and I can see your point. They make a vague effort to show radiation going out to the side but physical contact is conduction. They just used a bad artist. $\endgroup$ – user108787 Nov 1 '16 at 1:14
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    $\begingroup$ The coil on an electric stove is often hot enough to glow in the visible range of the EM spectrum. In addition, it is touching the pot that is on top of it. Due to this, I would say that both radiation AND conduction are involved. $\endgroup$ – David White Nov 1 '16 at 3:06
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Up to my knowledge It is conduction. Instead of placing the bowl on electric stove, if you place it on gas stove it would be radiation.

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  • $\begingroup$ You should probably add a link or reference of some type just to prove that. However, I do believe I agree with you on this! $\endgroup$ – L.B. May 18 '18 at 14:19

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