Heat and also temperature space a very closely related topic, and as such, the difference between the two have the right to be a little bit confusing. The core distinction is that heat encounters thermal energy, conversely, temperature is much more concerned through molecular kinetic energy.

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Whats the difference?

Heat defines the transport of thermal energy between molecules in ~ a system and also is measure in Joules.<2> warm measures how energy moves or flows. An object can get heat or shed heat, yet it cannot have heat. Warmth is a measure up of change, never ever a property possessed by an object or system. Therefore, the is classified as a procedure variable.

Temperature describes the median kinetic power of molecules within a material or system and also is measure in Celsius (°C), Kelvin(K), Fahrenheit (°F), or Rankine (R). It is a measurable physical building of an object—also known as a state variable. Other measurable physical properties incorporate velocity, mass, and also density, to surname a few.<3>


Heat is a move of thermal energy caused by a difference in temperature between molecules.


Thermal power can be otherwise construed as the complete microscopic kinetic and also potential energy of a system.

Second law of Thermodynamics

The second law of thermodynamics is a facility topic the requires intensive study in the field of thermodynamics to truly understand. However, because that the function of this article, just one small aspect requirements to it is in understood and also that is the truth that heat will always flow spontaneously native hotter building materials to colder ones. This straightforward statement describes why an ice cream cube doesn"t type outside ~ above a hot day or why that melts as soon as dropped in a key of warmth water.

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Thought experiment

Imagine the abovementioned ice cube dropped right into a key of heat water—the ice cream must obtain heat (thermal energy) indigenous the water in the key (see preceding paragraph). Adding thermal energy leads to an increase in the kinetic power of the ice molecule, and thus an increase in temperature. This is known due to the fact that temperature is in fact the measure of the typical kinetic power of the molecules. Furthermore, the ice cream will proceed to gain thermal energy causing its molecules to relocate faster and eventually break their intermolecular bond or melt.

In conclusion, the carry of warm or thermal energy will typically adjust the temperature of the substance, but no always! because that example, in ~ the moment when the ice cream in the bowl transforms to water those water molecules will be at the exact same temperature as when they were ice. In this case, instead of the thermal power doing job-related to rise the kinetic energy, the does occupational to break the intermolecular bonds, causing a change of state. However, as time goes on the temperature that the recently melted ice cream will increase until everything within the bowl reaches equilibrium—meaning a regular temperature throughout.