Modes of Heat Transfer

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Different modes of heat transfer
Heat is a form of energy which transfers between bodies which are kept under thermal interactions. When a temperature difference occurs between two bodies or a body with its surroundings, heat transfer occurs.
Heat transfer occurs in three modes. Three modes of heat transfer are described below.

  1. Conduction
  2. Convection and
  3. Radiation


In Conduction, heat transfer takes place due to a temperature difference in a body or between bodies in thermal contact, without mixing of mass. The rate of heat transfer through conduction is governed by Fourier’s law of heat conduction.

Q = -kA(dT/dx)

Where, ‘Q’ is the heat flow rate by conduction
‘K’ is the thermal conductivity of body material
‘A’ is the cross-sectional area normal to the direction of heat flow and
‘dT/dx’ is the temperature gradient of the section.

conduction, convection and radiation are the three modes of Heat transfer


In convection, heat is transferred to a moving fluid at the surface over which it flows by combined molecular diffusion and bulk flow. Convection involves conduction and fluid flow. The rate of convective heat transfer is governed by Newton’s law of cooling.

Q = hA(Ts-T)

Where ‘Ts‘ is the surface temperature
‘T‘ is the outside temperature
‘h’ is the coefficient of convection.


In radiation, heat is transferred in the form of radiant energy or wave motion from one body to another body. No medium for radiation to occur. The rate of heat radiation that can be emitted by a surface at a thermodynamic temperature is based on Stefan-Boltzmann’s law.

Q = σ.T4

Where ‘T’ is the absolute temperature of the surface
‘σ’ is the Stefan-Boltzmann constant.

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Vinodh Reddy is a Mechanical Engineer and Editor-in-chief of ME Mechanical. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) degree in Mechanical Engineering. He also blogs at EduGeneral. He is interested in the manufacturing field.

All Comments

  • wow its amazing note

    alemu Dec 29, 2015 12:06 am Reply
  • Nice site

    siddhant Feb 10, 2016 12:25 am Reply
  • how about the units each of these use?

    Leeloo Green Jan 26, 2017 9:14 am Reply
  • Those notes are just great, short,straight to the point and easy to understsnd

    Pauline waithira Nov 13, 2018 10:16 am Reply
  • Superb points.Very easy to manipulate…

    Tushar shaw Jan 20, 2019 6:14 pm Reply

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