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Convection - What it is and how it works

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What it is and how it works

Convection of heat occurs when the atoms in a liquid or a gas move away from there neighbouring atoms. This causes the local area expand and consequently become less dense than the surrounding fluid.

Convection works by something heating up and becoming less dense than the surroundings. The less dense object will rise due to buoyant forces. When the less dense object cools down it will become denser and return to its original position.

The two types of convection

Convection comes in two types natural and forced. Heated air rising is an example of natural convection. Forced

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In most houses we have a radiator. The heat given of by them is mainly produced by convection. The convector heater warms the air in contact with it this then becomes less dense and rises.The ceiling then forces the warm air to circulate warming the air around it.Finally when the air cools down it becomes denser again and falls down.


Atmospheric Convection

Solar Radiation heats the earth’s surface and this is transferred by convection. When a layer of air receives enough heat from

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Mantle Convection

There are actually two convection currents occuring within the Earth. The outer core has an extremely rapid convective turnover of fluid metals which are responsible for the Earth's magnetic field. As heat from the inner and outer core heat the lower portion of the mantle, a second set of convective currents form. This mantle convection is extremely slow, as the mantle is a thick semi-solid with the consistency of a very thick paste. This slow convection can take millions of years to complete one cycle.        

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