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transport phenomenon

in physics, any of the phenomena involving the movement of various entities, such as mass, momentum, or energy, through a medium, fluid or solid, by virtue of nonuniform conditions existing within the medium. Variations of concentration in a medium, for example, lead to the relative motion of the various chemical species present, and this mass transport is generally referred to as diffusion. Variations of velocity within a fluid result in the transport of momentum, which is normally referred to as viscous flow. Variations in temperature result in the transport of energy, a process usually called heat conduction. There are many similarities in the mathematical descriptions of these three phenomena; and the three often occur together physically, as in combustion, where a flowing, viscous, fluid mixture is undergoing chemical reactions that produce heat, which is conducted away, and that produce various chemical species that interdiffuse with one another.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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