1
$\begingroup$

Is conduction at the atomic level simply electromagnetic energy (photon) transfer, coupled with momentum transferred during collisions?

Can conduction be summed up as thermal radiation + momentum transfer?

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

Can conduction be summed up as thermal radiation + momentum transfer?

Thermal conduction, or more properly called heat conduction, can be summed up as the transfer of kinetic energy from a higher temperature substance where the internal kinetic energy is greater, to a lower temperature substance (or lower temperature region of the same substance) where the internal kinetic energy is less, by means of direct physical contact. Generally electromagnetic energy transfer does not play a role in heat transfer by conduction, but rather heat transfer by radiation which requires no medium.

The mechanism by which the kinetic energy is transferred, and the type of kinetic energy that is transferred (rotational, vibrational, and/or translational) depends on whether the substance is a gas, liquid, or solid. For a solid it also depends on whether it is metal or non metal.

Hope this helps.

$\endgroup$
3
  • $\begingroup$ Yes. In metals, thermal conduction is mostly by the electrons. $\endgroup$ – user137289 Dec 19 '19 at 13:55
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Pieter Yes, and in non metals lattice vibrations (phonons). $\endgroup$ – Bob D Dec 19 '19 at 14:08
  • $\begingroup$ If all matter emits electromagnetic energy at temperatures above 0 K, isn't it necessary that there is near field radiative transfer between atoms and that this will be accounted for as part of the mechanism we refer to as conduction? Or, does the wavelength of the photons, or some other property prevent the electromagnetic waves from interacting with nearby atoms? $\endgroup$ – S Bullock Dec 21 '19 at 0:51

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.