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Physics LibreTexts

14: Heat and Heat Transfer Methods

Energy can exist in many forms and heat is one of the most intriguing. Heat is often hidden, as it only exists when in transit, and is transferred by a number of distinctly different methods. Heat transfer touches every aspect of our lives and helps us understand how the universe functions. It explains the chill we feel on a clear breezy night, or why Earth’s core has yet to cool. This chapter defines and explores heat transfer, its effects, and the methods by which heat is transferred. These topics are fundamental, as well as practical, and will often be referred to in the chapters ahead.

Thumbnail: Different flame types of a Bunsen burner depend on oxygen supply. On the left a rich fuel with no premixed oxygen produces a yellow sooty diffusion flame; on the right a lean fully oxygen premixed flame produces no soot. Image used with permission (GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2; Jan Fijałkowski).


  • Paul Peter Urone (Professor Emeritus at California State University, Sacramento) and Roger Hinrichs (State University of New York, College at Oswego) with Contributing Authors: Kim Dirks (University of Auckland) and Manjula Sharma (University of Sydney). This work is licensed by OpenStax University Physics under a Creative Commons Attribution License (by 4.0).