The average hot water heater tends to heat forty gallons of water in just about forty minutes and thus it is an incredible conductor of heat and yet at the same time it happens to be an appalling conductor of heat as well. This is because it traps heat within the hot water inside the system but does not allow the heat to be displaced into the air outside thus acing in the one-way transfer of heat from the flame to the water but not from the water to the outside air. The mechanism of one-way transfer of heat will be further described below.
The Mechanism of One-Way Transfer of Heat
The burner flame proves to be an excellent source of heat for the gas water heater, the heart and soul of the hot water system Christies Beach. With a chimney extending all the way to the top of the reservoir from the bottom where the gas water heater lies, the transfer of heat occurs efficiently and effortlessly. This is seen when cold water from the top cascades through the pipe, all the while absorbing heat before finally leaving through the exit pipe. In order to understand how a hot water heater acts as a conductor to heat the water yet acts as an insulator to retain the heat of the water, we have to understand that both the bottom of the water heater as well as the chimney are made of metal which has conductive properties.The conductive properties of metals are of utmost importance as they conduct heat from one region to another. If we are to describe this case at the atomic level, one can say that free electrons are to be praised as these tiny particles move from one atom to the next and spread heat in the process. Thus in this case of water heaters, the gas heater flame heats up the air which in turn heats up the bottom of the water heater and infiltrates the chimney. Therefore the conductive properties of metal help in the transfer of heat into the water. However, this is not all. The nature of the chimney is such that it in fact slows the air therefore the air has to find an alternative pathway hence allowing for more time to heat the water therefore optimizing heat conduction. Yet if conduction is primed to transfer heat at ease from the burner to the water, it can theoretically transfer heat from the hot water to the air outside the tank. This is prevented by the layer of polyurethane foam that acts as an excellent insulator.
Polyurethane foam acts in the opposite manner as opposed to a metal by trapping heat instead of transferring it the way a metal would. The structure of the foam entails billions of tiny gas bubbles trapped within the plastic infrastructure. Gas bubbles are poor conductors of heat because molecules are spread out in a gas therefore making the transfer of heat from one molecule to the other harder than it would be in a solid. Apart from this, the plastic itself within the foam that traps the bubbles is a poor conductor as well due to its lack of electrons. Thanks to these mechanisms the heat remains trapped due to these insulation properties for a long time. Keep in note that the expertise of a good gas fitter or a professional would make the task less complicatedIn conclusion, we can see that a water heater without a doubt is an excellent conductor of heat due to its properties of transferring the highest amount of heat possible from the burner to the water. However it is great at insulating as well as it keeps the heat within the water as well.