What Is Called Of Heat?

Heat is a form of energy transfer between objects or systems due to temperature difference. Thermodynamics is the branch of physics that deals with heat and temperature and their relation to energy, work, radiation, and properties of matter.

The study of heat and thermodynamics is critically important in science and engineering. Heat drives many essential physical processes and technologies, including the weather, engines, refrigeration, and electricity generation. Understanding how heat and energy transfer between objects allows scientists and engineers to design more efficient systems and technologies.

Specifically, the laws of thermodynamics set fundamental limits on what can be achieved in areas like converting heat into work. The ability to measure and control heat is key to designing high-performance buildings, vehicles, industrial processes, and much more.


Temperature refers to how hot or cold an object is. Temperature is a measure of the average kinetic energy of the particles in a system. Temperature is measured using a thermometer which typically measures temperature in one of three scales: Celsius, Fahrenheit, or Kelvin. The Celsius and Kelvin scales are defined based on temperature points related to the state of water. The freezing point of water is 0°C on the Celsius scale and 273.15K on the Kelvin scale. The boiling point of water is 100°C or 373.15K. The Fahrenheit scale uses the freezing and boiling points of water as 32°F and 212°F respectively.

On the Celsius scale, which is used most commonly for scientific purposes worldwide, the degree sign is omitted. Temperatures below 0° are indicated with a minus sign. The Kelvin scale, also known as the absolute temperature scale, starts from absolute zero, the coldest theoretically possible temperature where molecular motion stops. Unlike Celsius, the Kelvin scale does not use the degree symbol and does not use the minus sign for temperatures below 0. For reference, 0°C is equal to 273.15K and water freezes at 273.15K. The Fahrenheit scale is primarily used in the United States. On the Fahrenheit scale, the degree sign is used and temperatures below zero use the minus sign.

Understanding temperature is important across science and for practical everyday use. Monitoring temperature allows us to gauge molecular activity and determine properties of materials. Converting between temperature scales allows for standardized communication and understanding worldwide.

Heat vs Temperature

heat is energy transfer due to temperature difference
Though often used interchangeably, heat and temperature are distinct physical properties. Temperature measures the average kinetic energy of molecules and atoms, indicating how hot or cold an object is. Heat, on the other hand, is the total thermal energy transferred between objects due to a temperature difference.

Temperature is an intensive property, meaning it does not depend on the size or amount of matter in the system. Whether you have 1 liter or 10 liters of water at 20°C, the temperature is the same. Heat is an extensive property and depends on the amount of matter. A bathtub of hot water contains more total heat than a cup of the same hot water.

While temperature is measured on a scale (Celsius, Fahrenheit, etc.), heat is measured in units of energy (joules, calories, BTUs, etc.). Temperature is a property of matter at the microscopic scale, a measure of the kinetic energy of particles. Heat is a macroscopic property, the total thermal energy transferred between objects.

Understanding the distinction between heat and temperature helps explain many everyday phenomena. Adding heat to matter raises its temperature, while removing heat lowers the temperature. Two objects at the same temperature contain the same average kinetic energy of particles, yet can have vastly different heat content depending on their size and composition.

Heat Transfer

Heat transfer refers to the transfer of thermal energy between objects or systems due to a temperature difference. There are three main mechanisms of heat transfer:

Conduction – The transfer of heat between substances in direct contact with each other. It occurs when faster moving hotter molecules collide with slower moving colder molecules and transfer some of their energy. Metals are good conductors.

Convection – The transfer of heat by the movement of fluids. Hotter fluids rise due to their lower density, while colder fluids sink, creating circulation that transfers heat. Examples include heating by radiators or the movement of magma in the Earth’s mantle.

Radiation – The transfer of heat via electromagnetic waves. All objects emit thermal radiation related to their temperature. Radiant heat can travel through empty space and does not require contact between source and absorber. The Sun’s warmth comes from radiation.

Understanding heat transfer mechanisms allows us to engineer more efficient heating and cooling systems and processes.

Heat Capacity

Heat capacity is defined as the amount of heat energy required to raise the temperature of a substance by 1 degree. It represents the ability of a material to store heat energy. Materials with a high heat capacity require more heat to increase their temperature compared to materials with a low heat capacity.

The heat capacity of a substance is determined by several factors:

  • Mass – The greater the mass of a material, the more heat energy is required to raise its temperature. Doubling the mass of a substance doubles its heat capacity.
  • Molecular structure – Materials made up of larger, more complex molecules generally have a higher heat capacity. For example, metals have high heat capacities due to their crystalline structure.
  • Phase changes – Significant amounts of heat are required when a substance undergoes a phase change from solid to liquid or liquid to gas. Therefore, heat capacity increases during phase changes.
  • Temperature – The heat capacity of most materials varies based on temperature. Heat capacity generally increases with temperature.

Understanding the heat capacity of different materials is important for many applications such as engineering, cooking, and weather forecasting.

Specific Heat Capacity

Specific heat capacity is the amount of heat energy required to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of a substance by 1 degree Celsius. It is a physical property that varies depending on the substance. Substances with a high specific heat capacity require more heat to increase their temperature compared to substances with a low specific heat capacity.

Some examples of substances with high specific heat capacities include:

  • Water – 4.18 J/g°C
  • Ammonia – 2.06 J/g°C
  • Ethylene glycol – 2.4 J/g°C

Substances with low specific heat capacities include:

  • Aluminum – 0.9 J/g°C
  • Ethanol – 2.44 J/g°C
  • Glycerol – 2.4 J/g°C

The high specific heat capacity of water is why it is commonly used as a coolant in systems like car radiators and industrial processes. The water absorbs significant amounts of heat before increasing in temperature, helping regulate the temperature of the overall system.

Thermal Expansion

Thermal expansion refers to the phenomenon where matter changes in volume in response to a change in temperature. When most materials are heated, they expand. Likewise, when most materials are cooled, they contract. This occurs because the kinetic energy of the atoms or molecules increases as temperature rises, causing the atoms/molecules to vibrate more and move further apart from each other, increasing the volume. The degree of expansion or contraction varies among materials and depends on the change in temperature.

For solids, thermal expansion is generally characterized by the coefficient of linear expansion α. This coefficient describes the fractional change in length of a material per degree change in temperature. Most solids expand linearly with increases in temperature. However, anisotropic solids like wood expand differently along different axes. The anisotropy must be taken into account when dealing with these materials.

For liquids, the coefficient of volume expansion β describes the fractional change in volume per degree temperature change. The volume expansion of liquids is typically larger than the linear expansion of solids. This is because liquids are free to expand in all directions, while solids are constrained by their rigid structure. Liquid expansion can be visualized using thermometers with liquid-in-glass bulbs.

For gases, thermal expansion is described by Charles’s law, which states that the volume of a gas is directly proportional to its absolute temperature if pressure is held constant. Gases generally experience the greatest amount of expansion with heat. As kinetic energy causes gas molecules to move faster and overcome their intermolecular forces more easily, the molecules require more space and cause the gas to expand.

Thermal expansion is an important consideration in fields like engineering, construction, and physics when dealing with temperatures. Designs and measurements must account for expansion or contraction, or unwanted strain and structural failures can occur. Understanding the precise way materials expand is key to properly accounting for thermal effects.


Calorimetry is the measurement of the transfer of heat energy between physical systems. It is a scientific technique used to determine the amount of heat absorbed or released during a chemical reaction or physical change. Calorimetry allows scientists to quantify thermal energy and monitor temperature changes by measuring the heat flow between the reaction and the environment.

Calorimeters are instruments designed to measure heat of reaction or physical change within a thermodynamic system. There are two main types:

– Bomb calorimeters that operate at constant volume, used to measure the energy content of fuels.
– Reaction calorimeters that work at constant pressure, used to characterize heat evolved in chemical reactions.

Calorimetry has many important applications and uses:

– It is used to measure the energy content of foods, which helps inform nutritional guidelines. Scientists can calculate the caloric value of different foods.

– It allows chemists to calculate enthalpies of reactions, formation, combustion, and phase transitions. The heat flow of reactions provides insight into reaction kinetics and thermodynamics.

– It is important for material science and engineering, enabling calculations of heat capacity which indicate how much energy is required to change a material’s temperature.

– In physics, calorimetry enables calculation of thermodynamic properties and validation of theoretical principles like the laws of thermodynamics.

– It has medical applications for measuring human metabolic rates during exercise. The heat emitted by the human body can quantify health and performance.

In summary, calorimetry is a vital quantitative scientific technique for measuring heat transfer in chemical and physical processes. It provides key insights into thermodynamic properties and energy changes in reactions and materials. Calorimetry data serves many fields including chemistry, biochemistry, physics, medical science, nutrition and engineering.

First Law of Thermodynamics

The First Law of Thermodynamics, also known as the Law of Conservation of Energy, states that energy cannot be created or destroyed in an isolated system. This means that the total quantity of energy in a closed system remains constant. The law is significant because it establishes that although energy can change forms, the total amount of energy is always conserved.

The First Law of Thermodynamics is expressed mathematically as:

ΔE = Q – W

Where ΔE is the change in internal energy of the system, Q is the amount of heat added to the system, and W is the amount of work done by the system. This equation quantifies that any change in the internal energy of a system is equal to the heat added minus the work done. The law accounts for all forms of energy transfer and affirms that energy is always conserved.

By stating that energy can never be created or destroyed, only transformed, the First Law of Thermodynamics sets an absolute limit on what is possible in any thermodynamic process. It governs interactions between heat, work, and internal energy and is one of the most fundamental laws of physics. The First Law allows us to track energy transfers and calculate efficiency in machines and thermodynamic cycles. It remains a cornerstone concept for the study of thermodynamics across scientific disciplines.


Heat transfer concepts have many important real-world applications in science and engineering. Understanding how heat transfers between objects or systems allows us to design more efficient systems and processes.

Some examples of heat transfer applications include:

  • Heating and cooling systems – HVAC systems use principles of heat transfer to transport thermal energy and maintain comfortable temperatures in buildings.

  • Electronics cooling – Heat sinks and fans are designed to maximize heat dissipation from electronic components using convection and radiation.

  • Cooking – Cooking techniques rely on conduction and convection to transfer heat into food.

  • Insulation materials – Insulation slows down heat transfer through materials to maintain temperature differences between hot and cold environments.

  • Metallurgy and materials processing – Controlling heat transfer is critical for manufacturing processes like casting, welding, heat treatment, and glass blowing.

  • Energy generation – Power plants convert fuel thermal energy into mechanical or electrical energy using heat exchangers and thermodynamic cycles.

  • Medicine – Understanding heat transfer in the human body helps improve treatments like cryotherapy, thermal ablation, and fever management.

Overall, heat transfer is a ubiquitous process that surrounds us in our everyday lives. Mastering its principles enables us to engineer more efficient energy systems and materials for a better future.

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