Let’s do a simple experiment. Say we have a metal spoon, a plastic spoon, and a wooden spoon placed in a bowl. Each of them has a small piece of butter of equal mass sticking to the tip of the spoon. Now if we start to pour hot water into the bowl, on which spoon will the butter melt first and why?
This simple experiment shows us that different materials conduct heat at different rates. In the study of heat transfer, a material's ability to conduct the heat is recorded as thermal conductivity.
In this lesson, we will discuss the thermal conductivity of different materials and how they are utilized by engineers.
Here are the accompanying handout slides for this lesson.