Q:

What are examples of thermal energy?

A:

Quick Answer

Thermal energy is the movement of particles within matter and is found in the sun, magma, heated water and even the human body. Heat represents the transfer of thermal energy between matter.

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Full Answer

Thermal energy is harvested and used by humans in items such as car engines and refrigerators and in the burning of fossil fuels to generate electricity. The more matter that exists within a system, the more particles are permitted to move, allowing them to have more thermal energy. For example, a small bowl containing boiling water contains less thermal energy than a large pool at body temperature. James Prescott Joule gave a lecture in 1847 in which he defined terms related to thermal energy such as sensible and latent heat.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How is thermal energy produced?

    A:

    Solar thermal panels harness energy from the sun to energize homes and commercial buildings, according to Solar Systems USA. How Stuff Works mentions that geothermal energy is created by tapping into hot water or steam under the Earth to generate heat.

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  • Q:

    How are temperature and thermal energy different?

    A:

    The difference between temperature and thermal energy is that temperature measures the average kinetic speed of molecules and thermal energy is the total kinetic energy of all particles in a given substance. In other words, temperature measures the average speed of movement, and thermal energy measures the mass of a substance. Both temperature and thermal energy are made by the movement of particles.

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  • Q:

    How is thermal energy transferred?

    A:

    Brightstorm explains that thermal energy transfer involves the internal transfer of energy, of which there are three major types: conduction, radiation and convection. When there is a temperature difference between the involved systems, heat transfers from the hotter system to the cooler system, which is why hot drinks become cold.

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  • Q:

    What causes thermal energy to change?

    A:

    Temperature causes changes in the amounts of thermal energy held by a substance or system. The higher the temperature, the higher the amount of thermal energy held.

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