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Q & A: conducting cold?

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
Do metals conduct cold as well as they conduct heat? Is it proper to say metals conduct cold ?
- Courtney (age 13)
Ottawa, Canada
A:
Think of what conducting heat consists of. One side  of the conductor is hot, the other is cold. Thermal energy flows from the hot side to the cold side. That heats up the cold side and cools down the hot side.  So you could say that hotness is carried one way and coldness is carried the other. However, in polite society it is considered proper to say that the material conducts heat and not considered proper to say that it conducts cold. Thatís just the way we talk.

Mike W.

(published on 10/22/2007)

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