Thermal Energy

What is Thermal Energy?

Thermal energy is the energy of temperature, and the vibrating and moving of molecules. Thermal energy is not the energy of heat however, because heat is energy that is transferred from one thing to another. Heat can be transferred to thermal energy and through it. When an atom or molecule vibrates or moves, it generates thermal energy and heat. The bigger a body of something is, the more thermal energy is necessary for it to gain heat. For example, you would need much more thermal energy to heat a bathtub full of water than a beaker full of water because more vibration would be necessary to heat the whole tub.

Where is Thermal Energy used in nearly everyday life?

An example of an application of Thermal energy is flares. Flares are used as precautions in case of an emergency. Flare guns fire rocket flares, which are shot from an aluminum tube about 12 inches long. They rocket into the air to about 300 m, then the flare drifts down attached to a small parachute to maximize time for rescuers to notice it. Smoke flares can be held in your hand, and they then give off huge plumes of red and orange smoke. Signal flares are similar except they burn with bright red and orange flame.

Flare gun Model.jpg

This is a model of a flare gun, which is used to fire rocket flares.
Rocket Flare.png

This is a picture of a rocket flare, the tube it is contained in and it coming back down connected to the parachute.


This is a single shot 12 gauge flare gun, used for emergency situations.

The purpose of this experiment was to see if the amount of heat changed when a hand warmer was shaken compared to just being exposed to open air. The hand warmer was exposed to open air for 15 minutes, and the temperature being recorded every minute. The results showed that when the hand warmer was exposed, the temperature steadily increased temperature every minute or two. When shaken, the hand warmer increased temperature from the 15th minute by 5 degrees Celsius. The conclusion of this experiment is that when shaken, the hand warmer increases temperature rapidly. The hand warmer is made of a soft cloth like material, with a black powdery substance inside. The hand warmer responds to the air, and warms up immediately. Shaking seemed to accelerate the process of the hand warmer warming up. To find the temperature, the hand warmer was hung around the tip of the Celsius thermometer.

1-23 C
2-24 C
3-26 C
4-28 C
5-29 C
6-30 C
7-31 C
8-32 C
9-33 C
10-34 C
11-36 C
12-37 C
13-39 C
14-40 C
15-40 C
After Shaken: 45 C