# Homework Help: Electrons conducting heat?

1. Jan 19, 2013

### quantumfoam

Can an electron conduct heat? I know electrons are partially the reason why metals conduct heat, but can an electron itself conduct heat? In other words, does an electron have a heat capacity?

2. Jan 19, 2013

### Simon Bridge

What is "heat"?
Does it make sense to talk about the heat of a single particle?

Electrons can carry energy from place to place - they may gain energy from heat, get ejected, travel to some place where it is captured, transferring it's energy to the system as heat ... so the electron has conducted heat.

3. Jan 19, 2013

### quantumfoam

If electrons conduct heat, then do they have a heat capacity? Also, I just noticed I posted this on the mathematics section. Haha

4. Jan 19, 2013

### SammyS

Staff Emeritus
Does a single molecule or atom have heat capacity?

What is heat?

5. Jan 19, 2013

### quantumfoam

Well temperature is the average kinetic energy of particles in a substance. Consequently shouldnt heat be almost the same thing?

6. Jan 20, 2013

### Simon Bridge

7. Jan 20, 2013

### SammyS

Staff Emeritus
Temperature & heat are related, but they're not at all the same thing.

8. Jan 20, 2013

### quantumfoam

Well heat is the energy transferred between two materials. But heat can only be transferred between two objects if the objects have atoms and molecules to absorb the energy to use as kinetic energy. How does an electron get a raise in temperature if it doesnt have any sub sub atomic particles to pass on the heat energy?

9. Jan 20, 2013

### quantumfoam

What I mean to say is, can an electron have temperature?

10. Jan 20, 2013

### Dick

Isn't that the answer to your question? An electron can have kinetic energy, but that's about all. It doesn't have any component parts. So it can't have a temperature. It can't absorb or release any 'internal' energy. It doesn't have any.

11. Jan 21, 2013

### Simon Bridge

What is temperature?

12. Jan 21, 2013

### quantumfoam

Temperature is the average kinetic energy of a materials particles. Since the electron doesnt have any "particles", it has
no temperature. Is it just me or is that strange thermodynamically? If a material doesnt have a temperature, what is the "stuff" that makes the electron? For neutrons and protons its a different story because they have quarks. What about the electron? Does having no temperature mean zero kelvin or something else?

13. Jan 21, 2013

### Dick

As far as anyone knows to date, an electron has no parts inside of it. If you connect an electron to a heat bath of any temperature it won't absorb heat or give it up. It has no temperature. That's not the same as zero kelvin.