Thermal Energy


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A candle gives of heat and is an example of thermal energy

All energy falls into two sections, kinetic energy and potential energy. Potential energy is stored energy and the energy of position. Kinetic energy is energy in motion. Thermal energy is kinetic energy because thermal energy is in motion. Thermal energy is the energy we use to describe the level of activity for the molecules in an object. An object with molecules that are very excited and they zip around rapidly is known as being hot. An object with molecules whose atoms move around less rapidly is known as cold. Thermal energy is also known as heat energy and it the energy of moving or vibrating molecules. The amount of heat transferred by a substance depends on the speed and the number of atoms or molecules in motion. The faster the atoms or molecules move that higher the temperature.

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The flames from this campfire give of heat


An Example of Thermal Energy: Boiling Water

One example of thermal energy is boiling water. Thermal energy transfers from one object to another when the objects touch each other. Here is how it works with the water, the metal pot touched the hot stove and the thermal energy from the stove transferred to the pot making its particles move faster. The thermal energy from the pot transferred to the water making its particles move faster. Eventually the particles in the water move so fast that the water begins to boil. The water is so hot that it gives off steam.

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This is an example of boiling water giving off steam


An Experiment

The purpose of this experiment was to figure out if the hot hands got hotter or colder over time. Also if the hot hand did get hotter how long would it take? The hot hand packet was opened and the hot hand was pulled out of packet and was set on the table. The temperature of the hot hand was taken as fast as possible with a thermometer. The hot hand was folded upwards and the thermometer was placed in between the hot hand. After a minute of the thermometer in the hot hands the temperature was recorded. After another minute the temperature was recorded again. This process repeated in till it was done fifteen times. It was observed that the hot hands did get slightly hotter each time the temperature was taken with the thermometer. It was also observed that the hot hand did not take too long to heat up and it got hot within fifteen minutes.

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A chart showing the results of the experiment