In heat transfer, conduction (or heat conduction) is the transfer of thermal energy between regions of matter due to a temperature gradient. Heat always flows from a region of higher temperature to a region of lower temperature, and results in the elimination of temperature differences by establishing thermal equilibrium. Conduction takes place in all forms of matter, viz. solids, liquids, gases and plasmas, but does not require any bulk motion of matter. In solids, it is due to the combination of vibrations of the molecules in a lattice or phonons with the energy transported by free electrons. In gases and liquids, conduction is due to the collisions and diffusion of the molecules during their random motion. In the engineering sciences, heat transfer includes the processes of thermal radiation, convection, and sometimes mass transfer and often more than one of these processes occurs in a given situation.