Conduction is the transfer of heat by collisions of rapidly moving molecules.


The purpose of this experiment is to observe conduction.

Paper cup




1. Fill the paper cup about 2/3 full of water.
2. Hold the top edge of the cup with the tongs, and hold the cup about 2’’ above the flame.

3. Wait for the water to get hot (steam).
Why doesn't the paper cup catch on fire?

Molecules are moving rapidly; heat is being transferred; conduction is occurring! The paper cup heated by the flame conducts heat from the air to the water, and as a result, the paper stays cool. The temperature at which water boils is lower than the temperature at which paper catches on fire or ignites!

When the surface of the earth warms up, heat is transferred from the earth to the air just above it through the process of conduction. As the air warms, it may become unstable, causing winds and clouds to form.