# convection

## examples of convection

Convection currents transfer thermal energy through many fluids, not just hot water in a pot. For example, convection currents transfer thermal energy through molten rock below Earths surface, through water in the oceans, and through air in the atmosphere. Convection currents in the atmosphere create winds. You can see one way this happens in the Figure 1.2. The land heats up and cools off faster than the water because it has lower specific heat. Therefore, the land gets warmer during the day and cooler at night than the water does. During the day, warm air rises above the land and cool air from the water moves in to take its place. During the night, the opposite happens. Warm air rises above the water and cool air from the land moves out to take its place. Q: During the day, in which direction is thermal energy of the air transferred? In which direction is it transferred during the night? A: During the day, thermal energy is transferred from the air over the land to the air over the water. During the night, thermal energy is transferred in the opposite direction.

## defining convection

Convection is the transfer of thermal energy by particles moving through a fluid (either a gas or a liquid). Thermal energy is the total kinetic energy of moving particles of matter, and the transfer of thermal energy is called heat. Convection is one of three ways that thermal energy can be transferred (the other ways are conduction and thermal radiation). Thermal energy is always transferred from matter with a higher temperature to matter with a lower temperature. Click image to the left or use the URL below. URL: Click image to the left or use the URL below. URL:

## how does convection occur

The Figure 1.1 shows how convection occurs, using hot water in a pot as an example. When particles in one area of a fluid (in this case, the water at the bottom of the pot) gain thermal energy, they move more quickly, have more collisions, and spread farther apart. This decreases the density of the particles, so they rise up through the fluid. As they rise, they transfer their thermal energy to other particles of the fluid and cool off in the process. With less energy, the particles move more slowly, have fewer collisions, and move closer together. This increases their density, so they sink back down through the fluid. When they reach the bottom of the fluid, the cycle repeats. The result is a loop of moving particles called a convection current.

## instructional diagrams

No diagram descriptions associated with this lesson

## questions

heat is the transfer of thermal energy.

``````-->  a. true

b. false
``````

when particles of matter in one part of a fluid gain thermal energy they

``````a) move more quickly.

b) have more collisions.

-->  d) all of the above
``````

when particles are more spread out, they have higher density.

``````a. true

-->  b. false
``````

higher density particles sink downward through a fluid.

``````-->  a. true

b. false
``````

convection currents transfer thermal energy through earths

``````a) oceans.

b) atmosphere.

c) molten rock.

-->  d) all of the above
``````

## diagram questions

No diagram questions associated with this lesson