1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Heat Conduction and Turkey

  1. Oct 12, 2009 #1


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    My question pertains to mechanisms for heat transfer in an everyday situation. I've put that sentence first (rather than the next one) so that people looking at the post preview wouldn't think I was posting irrelevant threads. In Canada, today is Thanksgiving day. The packaging on my Turkey stated that certain parts of the turkey should be covered with aluminum foil in order to prevent burning (as well as to keep the juices in, I think). I understand how aluminum foil would prevent radiative heat transfer to those areas by reflecting IR radiation. I guess what I'm wondering is, what about heat transfer by conduction? At first I thought that metal, being a good thermal conductor, would conduct heat more efficiently into the turkey. Then it occurred to me that perhaps conducting heat from air --> turkey is in fact more efficient than having to conduct heat from air --> metal foil --> turkey. I asked one of my colleagues to weigh in with his opinion, and he seemed to think that it wouldn't matter because radiation is by far the dominant mechanism of heat transfer in a conventional oven. Is this true? I mean, I know of the "perfectly absorbing oven" construct used when developing the theoretical idea of a perfect blackbody. I'm just surprised that heat transfer from the interior of the oven to the turkey by some other mechanism wouldn't also matter.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 12, 2009 #2
    Covering prevents drying out and burning.

    Covering with aluminum preserves heat transfer rate.

    Apart from radiative heat transfer, I think the convection is also an important mechanism.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook