In our natural environment, heat is generated from the sun, causing the air and surfaces to get hot. This transfer of heat from the sun to the earth is called radiation. Heat can also be generated and transferred in other environments such as various types of electronic devices and complex machinery. Here's how to understand the practical uses of heat transfer:
- Heat exchangers. Heat exchangers are commonly found in refrigerators, vehicles, refineries, power plants and chemical plants. The heat exchanger component helps to transfer heat from one area to another. The heat exchanger component can either come into contact with the source of the heat or they could be in separate components and have no contact at all. Chemical liquids or water helps in controlling hot temperatures run through these components to transfer heat. The radiator which is part of the cooling system in automobiles is a perfect example of how heat exchangers work. The chemical liquids or water that absorbs the heat from the engine are cooled by the air that flows through the radiator.
Air conditioners and air conditioning systems in homes and buildings have heat exchangers that are coil type internal tubing. The fluids that flow through the coils travel in a cross-flow arrangement, where fluids flow perpendicular from each other.
- Thermal management. Circuitry in electronic devices and machines are also subject to heat and a heat management system must be placed to dissipate the heat that the circuits generate while these devices are in use. The performance of the electronic device and machine can greatly be affected by hot temperatures. Heat transfer systems in these devices include air cooling fans, heat sink, and liquid cooling system.
Computers have these cooling systems to transfer heat from the circuits and other installed components. The processor generates heat and if left without a heat sink and fan could render it useless. The heat sink is directly in contact with the processor and has a higher heat capacity which helps transfer the heat from the processor and brings them into thermal equilibrium. Heat sinks are made from copper and aluminum which are excellent thermal conductors.
- Iron on transfer. Iron on transfer designs is great way to customize your own t-shirts. Heat is applied to a transfer paper that separates the design onto the shirt. You can create original designs on graphics software like Adobe Photoshop then print it on a transfer paper using your regular printer. When you have the design on the paper, you’ll need a hard surface big enough to cover the design and a regular iron. Place the shirt onto the hard surface then position the transfer paper on the shirt surface with the design facing the shirt. Plug in the iron and set it to cotton then wait for it to achieve the desired heat. Iron on the transfer paper and make sure you iron thoroughly. Once ironing is done, you can start to gently peel off the transfer paper. The heat was transferred onto the paper and released the design onto the shirt.
These are a few practical uses of heat transfer in complex machinery and simple projects.