Thermal Energy

What is Thermal Energy ?

The total Kinetic and Potential energy of constant moving atoms and molecules is thermal energy. One way to find if a substance's thermal energy is by how hot or cold it is, which is temperature. A substance's temperature measures the average amount of kinetic energy the molecules have. When a substance's temperature changes from hot to cold or cold to hot the substance's molecules are either gaining energy of losing energy. When a substance's molecules gain energy they speed up and become hotter. When a substance's molecules lose energy they slow down and cool off. That is what thermal energy is.

How and what is thermal energy used for?

An application of thermal energy would be a water heater. A water heater heats the water, so the molecules in the water gain energy and speed up. There are 9 different parts inside of a water heater. First there is the tank, the tank provides form 40 to 60 gallons of hot water. The Dip tube, the water enters the water heater through the dip tube at the top of the tank and then travels down to the bottom of the tank where the water is then heated. The Shut-off Valve, it stops the water flow into the water heater.The Heat-out pipe, it allows the heated water to leave the water heater. The Thermostat, It is a thermometer it works as a temperature control devise.The Heating mechanism this heats the water (Gas water heaters use a burner and chimney). The Drain valve, it makes it easy to empty the tank. The pressure release valve, this keeps the pressure inside the water within safe limits. The sacrificial anode rod, it is suspended in to the water heater tank to help slow down or to prevent corrosion. These are the main parts to how a water heater works.

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The purpose of the experiment was to find out whether a hand warmer would get warmer or colder as time passes. If it does get warmer then how much and for long. First, a hand warmer was shaken for 30 seconds. Then the hand warmer was put onto the table and was left alone for 1 minute. After one minute the hand warmers temperature was taken with an Infrared thermometer. Then the hand warmer was left on the table for another minute. The hand warmers temperature was taken every minute for 20 minutes. The hand warmers temperature rose after it was shaken for thirty seconds. The Hand warmers temperature continued to rise over time. Eventually the hand warmers temperature lowered after 18 minutes.The hand warmers temperature rose after it was shaken and then eventually lowered over time.