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What is a Heat Sink?

Introduction

First we need to know the basics.

What is Heat?

Heat is simply the transfer of energy from a higher temperature object to a lower temperature object. For example, if you touch someone’s hand and it is cold you are transferring some of your heat from your hand to theirs. We (humans) produce heat (body heat) from calories.

Heat Sinks

Now that you know what heat is you can understand heat sinks.

What is a Heat Sink?

A heat sink is anything that pulls heat away from a higher temperature object, environment, or substance. Take for example the outdoors on a winter day. Your house might have the heat cranked up to a high temperature to keep you warm. In this scenario, the outdoors is acting as a heat sink because the heat from your house is slowly being transferred to the outdoors.

What is a Heat Sink?
Our Oceans are Heat Sinks.

As stated by the EPA, water has a much higher heat capacity than air, meaning the oceans can absorb larger amounts of heat energy with only a slight increase in temperature. Oceans are a huge heat sink when it comes to where the majority of our planet’s energy is stored.

The ocean is a heat sink.

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