Facts on Convection Currents

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Convection currents are one of three ways heat is transferred. Convention currents can transfer heat in a liquid or a gas but not in a solid.

Definition

Convection currents are circular patterns that arise from the unequal heating and cooling of a fluid (gas or liquid).

Features

A convection current requires a heat source and a fluid that can circulate to transfer heat. In the atmosphere, the heat source is the sun and the fluid is air. Inside the Earth, the heat source is the core and the fluid is magma.

Significance

Convection currents can move large masses of solids, liquids or gases via the circulating fluid. This can have a significant effect on the weather.

Examples

Convection currents are responsible for the movement of tectonic plates on the Earth's crust, the production of wind in the atmosphere, and the production of ocean currents.

Benefits

Liquids and gases are poor conductors of heat. Convection currents are the most effective way of transferring heat through liquids and gases. A space heater or radiator placed at one end of a room can heat the entire room by utilizing convection currents.

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