# Metal plate heating

1. Dec 27, 2011

### joanna03

I have to simulate in Matlab the variation of temperature in a metal plate/block, heated at just one end. One suggestion I received is that I have to use partial differential equations and the energy balance law but I don't know how to start. I study computer science, so physics is a bit off to me. I've read about conduction and Fourier's law, but it just confused me even more. I just need a start on how is this variation on temperature determined in physics.

2. Dec 27, 2011

### AlephZero

If you are more interested in computer programming than physics, find out about finite difference methods and the Crank-Nicholson algorithm. That is a standard way to model heat flow. (It's not the only way, and not necessarily the most efficient way, but it works!)

3. Dec 27, 2011

### joanna03

Thanks for the suggestions, but that's not quite what I need. I need to set up the mathematical model for the variation on temperature in the metal plate, and the basis for this is provided by a differential equation (probably from the energy balance law), and various algebraic equations, plus some simplyifing hypothesis and initial integration values (like initial temperature of the block).
I'm just stuck as I'm not sure what equation to use.