Heat energy

To understand the concept of heat energy we must take into account the following definitions:


Energy is the ability to start or transform something. In an economic sense, energy is the natural resource that, thanks to technology and the various associated elements, can be used at an industrial level.


It is a term used in physics to name the principle or agent that causes heat phenomena.

Definition of calorific energy:

Caloric or calorific energy is the type of energy that is released in the form of heat. Being in constant transit, heat can pass from one body to another (when both have different caloric levels) or be transmitted to the environment.

Heat or thermal energy is the energy that an object or system has due to the movement of the molecules that it has inside. It is one of the different types of energy, where “energy” can be defined as “the ability to work.”

When a body receives heat, its molecules acquire heat energy and achieve greater movement. Heat energy, also known as thermal energy or thermal energy, can be obtained from the sun (through an exothermic reaction), from a fuel (through combustion), from a nuclear reaction (fission or fusion), from electricity (through the Joule or thermoelectric effect) or friction (as a result of different chemical or mechanical processes).

The heat energy obtained from nature (such as solar energy or geothermal energy) is a renewable and clean energy, since it generally does not produce pollution (unless man installs polluting industries for its exploitation).

Work is the movement of an object due to an applied force. A system is simply the accumulation of elements within limits. Therefore, heat energy can be described as the ability of something to function due to the motion of its particles.

Heat energy causes an object to have an internal temperature that can be measured, the faster the particles move within this system, the higher the recorded temperature. Because heat energy is due to the motion of particles, it is a form of energy of motion.

Characteristics of heat energy

  1. Heat energy is a part of the total energy of any object.
  2. The joule is the unit used to measure heat energy.
  3. Unlike other forms of energy, thermal energy is difficult to convert into other forms of energy.
  4. When heat energy is transferred to or from an object, it is called heat.
  5. Heat energy is related to the temperature of an object.
  6. Unlike other forms of energy, the amount of heat energy does not depend on the amount of work an object does. Although he was not the first to use the term heat energy, James Joule has the merit of being the first to speak of heat loss and gain.
  7. Heat and temperature are not the same, because temperature is related to how hot or cold it is.
  8. Heat energy can be transferred in three ways: convection, conduction, and radiation.
  9. Impellers, like metals, are objects that allow heat energy to move easily through them.
  10. Insulators, like plastic, are objects that do not allow heat energy to move easily through them.

How is heat energy obtained?

Heat energy is obtained in several ways:

  1. Directly from nature. This would be the case of geothermal energy or solar thermal energy.
  2. Energy generated from chemical energy.
  3. Through an exothermic reaction, such as the combustion of some fossil fuel.
  4. Through a nuclear energy fission or nuclear energy fusion reaction. By dividing the nucleus of an atom, you get a lot of heat.
  5. Energy generated by electrical energy by Joule effect or by thermoelectric effect.
  6. Frictional heat energy, as a residue from other mechanical or chemical processes.

Examples and applications of heat energy

  1. An 8-ounce cup with 60 degrees of coffee has more energy heat than an 8-ounce cup of coffee at 50 degrees.
  2. If we add ice to a juice container, its total temperature decreases and, therefore, the heat energy of the juice causes the ice to disappear.
  3. A stove releases heat energy when it burns propane gas.
  4. Heat energy from the sun warms our atmosphere.
  5. The heat energy from a hot stove is transferred to a metal pot and causes the water molecules to move faster, increasing the temperature of the water.

How does heat energy work?

Heat energy is the expression of the internal energy of a body and affects the movement of the particles that compose it. When a body gains heat, the internal motion of the particles increases and they become more unstable. The opposite also occurs: when the body loses heat, the particles progressively stop until they stabilize.

This type of energy is transmitted from one body to another or from one system to another in three ways:


In this case, the heat travels in the form of electromagnetic waves. An example of this is solar energy. It also happens when the heating is turned on: the air is radiated with heat and the temperature rises.


It is when a warmer body comes into contact with a colder or less warm body. In this way, heat is transmitted and temperatures are equalized. This cannot happen when the initial temperature is the same.


It is the displacement of particles that are hot in a colder environment. This happens with the wind: the air that moves with the hot particles makes it look like hot air.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also
Back to top button