The molecules within an object are in motion. Temperature is the measurement of the average kinetic energy of these molecules. The faster the particles are moving, the higher the temperature. Heat is the amount of thermal energy that is transferred from an object of higher temperature to an object at a lower temperature. For example, heat gets transferred from a warm surface to a cool ice cube, causing it to melt.
2. Types of Heat Transfer
Heat can be transferred by conduction, convection and radiation. Thermal conduction is the transfer of heat between objects that are in direct contact with each other, such as a spoon that is placed in a hot soup pan. Convection is the transfer of energy from a moving liquid or gas. Convection currents are created when water is boiled due to the changing density of the water. Radiation is the transfer of heat through electromagnetic waves. The radiation of the Sun travels through space and transfers thermal energy to the Earth’s atmosphere.
3. Using Heat to Produce Electricity
Modern technology has found many applications for heat. One of the best uses of heat is to produce electricity. The burning of fossil fuels produces heat that boils water and creates steam. The steam turns turbines in generators to produce electricity.
4. Heat Technology
Our vehicles use internal combustion engines to burn gasoline and create thermal energy. Within the engine, thermal energy is transformed to mechanical energy to make the car move. In other technologies, such as refrigerators and air conditioners, thermal energy is removed from an area in order to decrease the temperature.