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Thermal Convection

Thermal Convection

Author: Alejandra Jimenez
HS-ESS2-3. Develop a model based on evidence of Earth’s interior to describe the cycling of matter by thermal convection.

Students will be able to create a model that explains the cycling of matter by thermal convection of Earth's interior.

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Convective Heat Transfer- What is it?

Convective heat transfer, often referred to simply as convection, is the transfer of heat from one place to another by the movement of fluids. Convection is usually the dominant form of heat transfer in liquids and gases. Although often discussed as a distinct method of heat transfer, convective heat transfer involves the combined processes of unknown conduction (heat diffusion) and advection (heat transfer by bulk fluid flow).

Convection can be "forced" by movement of a fluid by means other than buoyancy forces (for example, a water pump in an automobile engine). Thermal expansion of fluids may also force convection. In other cases, natural buoyancy forces alone are entirely responsible for fluid motion when the fluid is heated, and this process is called "natural convection". An example is the draft in a chimney or around any fire. In natural convection, an increase in temperature produces a reduction in density, which in turn causes fluid motion due to pressures and forces when fluids of different densities are affected by gravity (or any g-force). For example, when water is heated on a stove, hot water from the bottom of the pan rises, displacing the colder denser liquid, which falls. After heating has stopped, mixing and conduction from this natural convection eventually result in a nearly homogeneous density, and even temperature. Without the presence of gravity (or conditions that cause a g-force of any type), natural convection does not occur, and only forced-convection modes operate.

The convection heat transfer mode comprises one mechanism. In addition to energy transfer due to specific molecular motion (diffusion), energy is transferred by bulk, or macroscopic, motion of the fluid. This motion is associated with the fact that, at any instant, large numbers of molecules are moving collectively or as aggregates. Such motion, in the presence of a temperature gradient, contributes to heat transfer. Because the molecules in aggregate retain their random motion, the total heat transfer is then due to the superposition of energy transport by random motion of the molecules and by the bulk motion of the fluid. It is customary to use the term convection when referring to this cumulative transport and the term advection when referring to the transport due to bulk fluid motion.

Source: from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Convection is Heat Transfer

This video will help you learn what molecules do when they are excited. This creates a convection current.

Mantle Convection

Links for more info!


You will create a model on SageModeler that displays how thermal convection occurs in the mantle. 

How to Use SageModeler

You can watch this video to help you with creating your model on SageModeler.