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Subatomic mechanism of heat transfer by convection?

  1. Feb 9, 2007 #1
    Hey. I've been pondering on and off for a while now how exactly energy is transferred between two gas atoms, with different energies, via collision. Specifically how the electrons, photons, neutrons, protons, and any other particles that are used for energy transfer in convection, interact. If you need me to restate the question or clarify any point of it, just ask.

    ...I've managed to ask my question without a question mark...yay? Whoops.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2007
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 14, 2007 #2


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    So what's the question?

    Heat convects via collisions. You know that. Doubtful that the nucleus is involved except in translational kinetic energy. Mostly the collision is bouncing electron shell off one another. Any help?
  4. Feb 14, 2007 #3


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    Staff Emeritus
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    First of all, convection (either force or natural), is a mechanism of bulk mass transport. In the case of natural convection, it means there is some cooler (denser) mass (of gas) moving down the gravity field while the warmer (less dense) mass rises.

    Conduction is the actual heat transport method which works by momentum/energy exchange between atoms.

    The protons and neutrons are fixed in the nuclear surrounded by the electrons, and atomic collisions (not nuclear) occur between the electrons surrounding the atoms.

    Photons interact primarily with the electrons, but have very little momentum.

    Now in a plasma, one can have nuclei participating in collisions with other nuclei, as well as free electrons (there are ion-ion, ion-electron and electron-electron collisions) - but the temperature has to be relatively high.
  5. Feb 16, 2007 #4
    Excellent, thank you.
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