Process controllers are surrounded by examples of heat transfer in their working environment. For example, in boiler systems, heat energy is transferred from burning fuel to water and steam. In internal combustion engines, fuel is burned and the energy released is used to move a piston inside the engine. In refrigeration systems, heat is extracted from the substance to be cooled and transferred to other systems where it is disposed of.
To ensure the efficient transfer and utilisation of heat energy is therefore an important function of a process operator, and a good understanding of the basic principles of energy and heat transfer is essential.
To understand the conversion of one form of energy to another it is necessary to understand the concepts of temperature, heat, expansion of liquids, solids and gases, pressure, properties of steam, combustion and the basic laws of thermodynamics.