Saturday, August 13, 2011

Heat Conductivity

Heat conductiors

The comic says it all. Heat IS everywhere. Now, this should be the part where I go on to give examples and start talking about how heat is SUPER important and how it affects our lives and how we should treasure it and how that will make us a better person, but that job is for the national education system, so I’ll continue.

Yeah so there are things that are better than others at transferring heat. All of these are known as conductors. These are not the conductors you see in orchestras, probably because they have no idea how to play Fur Elise in E flat minor. Basically, anything that can conduct electricity, even if is not very good, like wood and wool, is a conductor. Those which are good at transferring heat are known as good conductors of heat. Good conductors are mostly metals, but there might be a few minerals like diamonds. Those which are bad at transferring heat are known as insulators (otherwise known as bad conductors of heat). Insulators are mostly non-metals which is quite a lot. Wood, fabric, stone, plastic, you name it.

Now there is a scale for measuring heat conductivity. But I am not going to show it to you for 3 reasons:

  1. You won’t need it at all unless you’re a scientist that studies heat conduction
  2. It will take up unnecessary space which I need to hold my Bruno Mars comic
  3. I don’t understand it myself

Apparently, however grass and soil can conduct heat better than air and oil. Water obviously doesn't do very well at conducting heat, as it comes right before something called thermal grease. Diamond besides being the second-hardest material (before nanodiamonds, remember?) is also the second best at conducting heat. The best heat conductor is something called graphene, which sounds like some sort of drug. Actually, it’s something of a carbon sheet, and it’s used to make graphite. The best insulator is…AEROGEL! (Okay, so it’s actually, Silica Aerogel, but it’s from the same family.) For all that don’t know, aerogel, happens to be a kind of gel, which is the stuff your parents put on their hair to make it look nicer. Basically, gel is made of liquid and solid, so to get aerogel, you turn the liquid into a gas, and in the end, you get gas inside a solid which is aerogel. To get Silica Aerogel, you just add silica (which is some sort of crystal) to the aerogel. By the way, silica aerogel has won 15 Guinness World Records, and one of them is the best insulator.

There are many ways to test whether something is a good conductor of heat, but I prefer this way. Take a small cup (a Styrofoam cup will do) and fill it with SUPER DUPER ULTRA BOILING HOT water. Then put a stick with the material you are testing inside the hot water (make sure one side is on top of the water). Then stick some wax on the side that is on top of the water . If it is a good conductor, the heat from the water should travel up the stick and melt the wax. If it’s a good insulator, then well, nothing happens.

Heat experiment

Unfortunately for Lim Kiat Comicals, Lim has decided to quit from our company. This is strange, as we offer such good pay, and at such low-risk conditions. After all, before Kiat, we have had 3 death-free days. This means that we won’t be able to make another comic until we find another volunteer to help us.

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