Heat and temperature are a very closely related topic, and as such, the difference in between the two can be a bit confusing. The core difference is the heat deals with thermal energy, conversely, temperature is an ext concerned with molecular kinetic energy.

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Whats the difference?

Heat explains the transfer of heat energy between molecules in ~ a system and also is measure up in Joules.<2> warmth measures how power moves or flows. An item can acquire heat or lose heat, however it cannot have actually heat. Heat is a measure of change, never a property possessed by an object or system. Therefore, that is classified together a procedure variable.

Temperature defines the typical kinetic energy of molecules in ~ a product or system and is measure up in Celsius (°C), Kelvin(K), Fahrenheit (°F), or Rankine (R). The is a measurable physical residential property of an object—also known as a state variable. Various other measurable physics properties include velocity, mass, and density, to surname a few.<3>


Heat is a transport of thermal power caused through a difference in temperature between molecules.


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

Second legislation of Thermodynamics

The second law that thermodynamics is a complicated topic that requires extensive study in the field of thermodynamics to truly understand. However, because that the purpose of this article, just one little aspect needs to be understood and that is the fact that heat will always flow spontaneously native hotter building material to chillier ones. This an easy statement defines why an ice cube doesn"t kind outside on a hot day or why the melts when dropped in a bowl of warm water.

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Thought experiment

Imagine the abovementioned ice cube dropped into a bowl of warmth water—the ice cream must get heat (thermal energy) indigenous the water in the bowl (see coming before paragraph). Adding thermal power leads to boost in the kinetic energy of the ice molecule, and also thus an increase in temperature. This is known due to the fact that temperature is in fact the measure up of the mean kinetic power of the molecules. Furthermore, the ice will continue to get thermal power causing its molecule to move faster and eventually break their intermolecular binding or melt.

In conclusion, the carry of warmth or thermal power will typically change the temperature that the substance, but no always! because that example, at the minute when the ice in the bowl turns to water those water molecules will certainly be at the exact same temperature as as soon as they were ice. In this case, instead of the thermal energy doing work-related to increase the kinetic energy, it does work to rest the intermolecular bonds, leading to a readjust of state. However, as time go on the temperature the the freshly melted ice will rise until everything within the bowl reaches equilibrium—meaning a consistent temperature throughout.