Difference Between Conduction and Convection

Difference Between Conduction and Convection

On a normal day, you probably wouldn’t care, but every once in a while you wonder how things are going. For example, how does something get hot? Or how does ice melt when you take it out of the freezer? Here’s a very generous example: when you set fire to a jar of H2O, first the heat rises, then the water particles begin to evaporate and turn into gas.

There are many things to learn from this example, but we’ll just stick to two phenomena. The question now is, “what is the difference between convection and conduction?” But before we answer that, let us look at their meanings.

Definition of Conduction

Conduction is the movement of energy by direct contact of molecules from an area of higher vibration to an area of a lower vibration. Understanding these points can help you tell the difference between conduction and convection.

In this context, the term “direct molecular contact” refers to physical contact. From the explanation above, you can see that energy has been transferred to the pot by this method because it is in direct contact with the energy source.

Definition of Convection

Convection is defined as the way in which fluid energy is transferred by the movement of matter from an area of lower density to an area of higher density. An essential difference between convection and conduction to keep in mind that this form of transfer applies only to fluids (liquids and gases). In addition, a transfer occurs from a zone of low density to a zone of higher density.

Note that in this case, this form of the transfer only takes place in fluids. Compared to the above, the liquid (which is a fluid) increases in temperature by this method.

Conduction vs Convection Comparison Table

Here is a tabular representation that answers the question – “what is the difference between conduction and convection?”

Basis of Comparison Conduction Convection
Definition The transfer of energy by direct molecular contact from a zone of higher kinetic energy to a zone of lower kinetic energy The transfer of energy in fluids by the movement of matter from an area of lower density to an area of higher density.
Causes Difference in temperature Difference in density
Examples Heat transfer from hot food to a cold plate   Hot air balloon
Key point representation Shows how molecules travel between materials in direct contact Shows how molecules travel between fluid molecules
Occurrence Takes place in solid materials through direct molecular collisions Takes place in fluid through the normal flow of matter

Conclusion of the Main Difference Between Conduction vs Convection

The representations of the key points, definitions, examples, and occurrences of these processes are quite dissimilar as you can see in the table. However, the difference between conduction and convection examples listed above is only one cross section or millions of others that occur even in our daily lives. There is much more to know about these terms, but the most important thing is to remember the type of material involved in each case.