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Heat Transfer

August 13, 2011
To understand mechanical systems in a building you need to understand how heat is transferred. Heat is provided to a building through large mechanical systems, but all these systems work off a simple principals. There are three ways that heat can be transferred from one place to another; radiation, convection, and conduction.
  1. Radiation – Heat transfer through electromagnetic waves from the sun. The best example of this is how the southern side of a building will heat up throughout the day as it is exposed to direct sunlight.
  2. Convection – Heat transfer through a fluid (air or liquid). The simplest example of this is that hot air rises. Also, in a fintube heating system glycol is being used to transfer heat throughout the building in piping.
  3. Conduction – Heat transfer from one object to another due through direct contact. The best example of this is when you put a piece of metal into a fire, the metal heats up because it is in direct contact with the fire.
Using these three principals to heat a building is not so simple, most systems use a combination of the three.
Good luck on your next exam!
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