Fundamentals of Heat Transfer Part 1: Conduction

Conduction, Convection, Radiation, Heat Diffusion Eq., Thermal Resistance, Finned Surface, Lumped Capacitance Heat Transfer

What you’ll learn

  • Perform general energy balances as well as surface energy balances
  • Understand the basic mechanisms of heat transfer, which are conduction, convection, and radiation, and Fourier’s law of heat conduction, Newton’s law of cooling, and the Stefan– Boltzmann law of radiation
  • Obtain the differential equation of heat conduction in various coordinate systems, and simplify it for steady one-dimensional case
  • Identify the thermal conditions on surfaces, and express them mathematically as boundary and initial conditions
  • Solve one-dimensional heat conduction problems and obtain the temperature distributions within a medium and the heat flux
  • Understand the concept of thermal resistance and its limitations, and develop thermal resistance networks for practical heat conduction problems
  • Solve steady conduction problems that involve multilayer rectangular, cylindrical, or spherical geometries
  • Develop an intuitive understanding of thermal contact resistance, and circumstances under which it may be significant
  • Identify applications in which insulation may actually increase heat transfer
  • Analyze finned surfaces, and assess how efficiently and effectively fins enhance heat transfer
  • Assess when the spatial variation of temperature is negligible, and temperature varies nearly uniformly with time, making the simplified lumped system analysis applicable
  • Obtain analytical solutions for transient one-dimensional conduction problems in rectangular, cylindrical, and spherical geometries using the method of separation of variables, and understand why a one-term solution is usually a reasonable approximation


  • Fundamentals of Fluid Mechanics course.
  • Fundamentals of Engineering Thermodynamics course.


In the following course, we extend thermodynamic and fluid mechanics analysis through the study of the modes of heat transfer and the development of relations to calculate heat transfer rates. The objective of this course is to lay the foundation common to the modes of conductionconvection, and radiation. We begin by addressing the questions of What is heat transfer? and How is energy transferred by heat? First, we want to help you develop an appreciation for the fundamental concepts and principles that underlie heat transfer processes. Second, we will illustrate the manner in which knowledge of heat transfer processes is used in conjunction with the first law of thermodynamics to solve problems in thermal systems engineering.

Moreover, we will understand how the heat equation, based upon Fourier’s law and the conservation of energy requirement, can be used to obtain the temperature distribution within a medium for steady-state and transient conditions. Also we want to show how thermal circuits can be used to model steady-state heat flow in common geometries such as the plane wall, cylinder, sphere, and extended surface (fin). In addition, we will solve transient conduction problems using the lumped capacitance method, which is appropriate when a single temperature can be used to characterize the time response of the medium to the boundary change. When spatial effects must be considered, we will use analytical solutions to the heat equation.

Who this course is for:

  • Engineering Students
  • Engineers curious about heat transfer

This course includes:

  • 8.5 hours on-demand video
  • 1 article
  • 1 downloadable resource
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of completion

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