Adding heat to something increases its temperature, but heat is not the same as temperature. The temperature of an object is a measure of the average speed of the moving particles in it. The energy of the particles is called the internal energy. When an object is heated, its internal energy can increase to make the object hotter. The first law of thermodynamics says that the increase in internal energy is equal to the heat added minus the work done on the surroundings.
Thermal energy is the type of energy that a thing has because of its temperature. In thermodynamics, thermal energy is the internal energy present in a system in a state of thermodynamic equilibrium because of its temperature. That is, heat is defined as a spontaneous flow of energy (energy in transit) from one object to another, caused by a difference in temperature between two objects; so objects do not possess heat.
Properties of Heat[change | change source]
Heat can move from one place to another in different ways:
The measure of how much heat is needed to cause some change in temperature for a material is the specific heat capacity of the material. If the particles in the material are hard to move, then more energy is needed to make them move quickly, so a lot of heat will cause a small change in temperature. A different particle that is easier to move will need less heat for the same change in temperature.
Specific heat capacities can be looked up in a table, like this one.
Unless some work is done, heat moves only from hot things to cold things.
Measuring Heat[change | change source]
Heat is usually measured with a calorimeter, where the energy in a material is allowed to flow into nearby water, which has a known specific heat capacity. The temperature of the water is then measured before and after, and heat can be found using a formula.
References[change | change source]
- Thermal energy - Britannica
- Schroeder, Daniel, R. (2000). Thermal Physics. New York: Addison Wesley Longman. ISBN 0201380277.
Other websites[change | change source]
- Plasma heat at 2 gigakelvins - Article about extremely high temperature generated by scientists (Foxnews.com)
- Heat and Thermodynamics - Georgia State University
- Correlations for Convective Heat Transfer - ChE Online Resources
- An Introduction to the Quantitative Definition and Analysis of Heat written for High School Students
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