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I Where does heat energy go?

  1. Jan 12, 2017 #1

    Kyle Gray

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    When heat is dissipated into a piece of metal(aluminum for example), what happens to the potential energy that was stored in the heat? Does it transform into another form of energy or is it absorbed by the atoms of the metal element?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 12, 2017 #2
    Dissipation means that heat concentrated in a small area gets spread out into a larger area.
    The energy hasn't gone away it is just contained in a larger volume
    Hence the temperature at the original point falls, while it rises in the material the heat was dissipated into.
    This how heat sinks work in electronic equipment.
    Power transistors generate a lot of heat and would quickly burn up without a heat sink.
     
  4. Jan 12, 2017 #3
    It turns to kinetic energy, which makes the atoms it's made of vibrate faster.
     
  5. Jan 12, 2017 #4

    Kyle Gray

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    I would like to know if there is a super efficient way to capture the kinetic energy from the atoms as they heat up?
     
  6. Jan 12, 2017 #5
    I don't know of a super efficient way, but there are many examples of heat engines which do useful work by converting heat energy to another form.
    A steam engine is the most basic, converting (some of) the heat to mechanical energy.
    Then there are jet engines which convert heat energy to a linear thrust force.
    Power stations use heat to spin turbines resulting in production of electrical energy.
     
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