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Homework Help: Basic question about energy transfer

  1. Nov 1, 2011 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    During a food lesson, some students wonder why the metal spoon inside the saucepan gets hot but the wooden handle does not. Explain how the energy is transferred from the cooker to the end of the metal spoon (and why the wood doesn't get hot). There is water in the saucepan. And the saucepan is metal with a black coating.

    Key words to use are:
    Conduction, conductor, convection, energy transfer, evaporation, heating, insulator, metal, particles, radiation, thermal, vibrate, water, wood and density.

    3. The attempt at a solution

    I know the basics but I am struggling to use all of the key words. My rough answer so far is something along the lines of wood is an insulator, metal is a conductor, so (thermal?) energy can be transferred. Particles become less dense taking up more room (convection) [how does this transfer energy?).

    And that is about it so far. Please just leave some key points. Thanks
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 1, 2011 #2
  4. Nov 1, 2011 #3
    I would familiarize yourself with heat transfer terms such as conduction, convection and radiation.

    The spoon is being heated via conduction but the handle is cooling because of convection and radiation. Water is evaporating from the sauce pan. Wood has a different thermal conductivity than metal. Atoms are vibrating at different rates.
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