Hi mathaholic. Heat transfer is basically the transfer of thermal energy/heat through different places (also called physical systems). Heat requires a medium to move through methods such as conduction but through radiation it does not. It occurs in several ways such as the ones you mentioned along with advection. Conduction (also called diffusion) in the context of heat transfer is heat transferring between things which are physically in contact with each other. It occurs when atoms interact with atoms of another body (vibration between them), therefore transferring heat. There are two types: steady state and transient. Convection occurs when the energy is transferred due to moving fluids. Radiation, in simple terms, is energy transfer due to emitting and absorbing electromagnetic radiation. Advection occurs when you move an object containing energy. There are equations to calculate some of these things such as Fourier's law, using lumped capacitance model, the heat equation etc but you would need a bit more math and physics knowledge (at least PDEs).
Edit: A link you can use for more information is http://www.physicsclassroom.com/class/thermalP/u18l1e.cfm
Last edited by ShivamS (2014-02-09 08:40:27)