Examples of conduction

Below are some examples of conduction. These examples will clearly illustrate what conduction is with examples you encounter everyday in life. However, what is conduction?

Conduction is a transfer of heat between different materials that are in direct contact.

An easy example of heat conduction is when you hold one end of an iron rod while the other end is in direct contact with a flame.

Heat will transfer through the metal by conduction. How does the heat reach the other end of the rod where you hand is?


When the flame is put at one end of the rod, the atoms at the heated end will vibrate more rapidly. The vibrating atoms at the heated end will then force the atoms in their neighborhood to vibrate as well thus creating a chain reaction. The process will continue until the atoms where your hand is are vibrating as well. 

This is really what a heat transfer by conduction is about. It is a transfer of energy from atom to atom or from molecule to molecule.

Some materials are good conductors while others are not. Materials that are not good conductors are called insulators. If you hold a piece of iron in one hand and a piece of wood in the other hand that is another example of conduction. However, why do you feel that the piece of iron is colder? It is because it is easier to transfer heat from your hand to a metal. Wood is not a good conductor, but iron is.

Other examples of conduction 

  • You soak yourself in cold water. The heat from your body will transfer to the cold water. You feel cold now because your body lost some heat. 
  • You feel cold and you cuddle your mate. You feel better now since heat is transferred from your mate's body to yours.
  • You put an ice cube inside your hand and the ice cube starts to melt. Heat from your hand transferred to the ice and lowered the temperature of the ice. As a result the ice is melting.
  • Using a heated electric blanket to stay warm is also an example of conduction. Heat from the blanket will transfer to your body. Note that a regular blanket cannot provide you with heat. A regular blanket or bed sheet will simply prevent heat from leaving your body.
  • You put hot chocolate inside a cup and the cup is hot. Heat transferred from the hot chocolate to the cup by means of conduction.

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