Heat transfer

click here to learn about heat transfer mechanisms.

Heat transfer is the movement or flow of heat energy, often used to describe the dissipation of heat energy from one location to the surrounding environment. Heat transfer is governed with two main properties – temperature, which is the amount of thermal energy available, and the flow of this thermal energy.[1]

In terms of molecules, objects with higher temperatures have greater molecular agitation. Therefore heat transfer can also be viewed as the transfer of kinetic energy from one molecule to another.[2]

There are three ways in which heat transfer occurs: conduction, convection and radiation. All three will often occur simultaneously.

Below is an amusing video that explains heat transfer in terms of home energy efficiency:


  1. Hyperphysics, Heat Transfer [Online], Available: http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/thermo/heatra.html
  2. “Introduction to the Principles of Heat Transfer.” [Online]. Available: http://www.efunda.com/formulae/heat_transfer/home/overview.cfm.

Authors and Editors

Anas Al-Homsi, Irene Ao, Jordan Hanania, James Jenden, Kailyn Stenhouse, Jason Donev
Last updated: September 3, 2015
Get Citation