Thermal contact

Thermal contact

Discussion

Encyclopedia
In heat transfer
Heat transfer
Heat transfer is a discipline of thermal engineering that concerns the exchange of thermal energy from one physical system to another. Heat transfer is classified into various mechanisms, such as heat conduction, convection, thermal radiation, and phase-change transfer...

and thermodynamics
Thermodynamics
Thermodynamics is a physical science that studies the effects on material bodies, and on radiation in regions of space, of transfer of heat and of work done on or by the bodies or radiation...

, a thermodynamic system
Thermodynamic system
A thermodynamic system is a precisely defined macroscopic region of the universe, often called a physical system, that is studied using the principles of thermodynamics....

is said to be in thermal contact with another system if it can exchange energy with it through the process of heat
Heat
In physics and thermodynamics, heat is energy transferred from one body, region, or thermodynamic system to another due to thermal contact or thermal radiation when the systems are at different temperatures. It is often described as one of the fundamental processes of energy transfer between...

. Perfect thermal isolation is an idealization as real systems are always in thermal contact with their environment to some extent.

When two solid bodies are in contact, a resistance to heat transfer
Heat transfer
Heat transfer is a discipline of thermal engineering that concerns the exchange of thermal energy from one physical system to another. Heat transfer is classified into various mechanisms, such as heat conduction, convection, thermal radiation, and phase-change transfer...

exists between the bodies. The study of heat conduction
Heat conduction
In heat transfer, conduction is a mode of transfer of energy within and between bodies of matter, due to a temperature gradient. Conduction means collisional and diffusive transfer of kinetic energy of particles of ponderable matter . Conduction takes place in all forms of ponderable matter, viz....

between such bodies is called thermal contact conductance
Thermal contact conductance
In physics, thermal contact conductance is the study of heat conduction between solid bodies in thermal contact. The thermal contact conductance coefficient, h_c, is a property indicating the thermal conductivity, or ability to conduct heat, between two bodies in contact...

(Or thermal contact resistance).