The Difference Between Heat and Temperature

By Mary Smith. Updated: January 20, 2017
The Difference Between Heat and Temperature

It is very common to confuse everyday concepts that have developed over the course of history, such as heat and temperature or fog and mist. These are concepts whose meanings have somehow become mixed up during normal everyday usage. However, they have quite important differences. If you are curious, we'll explain the difference between heat and temperature.

Steps to follow:

Heat is known as the form of energy that is transmitted or transferred between two bodies that are at different temperatures. However, heat simply means energy transfer in thermodynamics. On the other hand, temperature is the measurement of heat in a body. So, it is purely a measure of molecular energy, whilst heat is the energy of the movement of molecules in a component.


By this rationale, heat is the factor responsible for increasing or decreasing the temperature of a body.


When heat enters a body it heats up. Also, when it leaves, it cools down. It's worth noting that the coldest objects also have heat because in actual fact, atoms are also moving to a lesser or larger extent.


Likewise, size is also important. If an object is larger, you'll have more heat. For example, if you take a glass and a bucket of water, it is possible for both to have the same temperature. However, the bucket will have more heat as it has much more water than the glass, so will have more thermal energy in total.


If you take two objects with the same temperature and they come into contact with each other, you won't get any energy transfer, since the average energy of their particles is exactly the same. However, if the temperature of one of these objects is considerably higher, there will be a transfer of energy from the object with the higher temperature to the other.


Temperature is measured in degrees, though they can be measured in Celcius (Europe), Kelvin(used to measure light temperature) or Fahrenheit (US, UK...). What is actually measured is the speed at which molecules move within a certain substance, though it is heat that produces a certain temperature, we talk about heat when we talk about degrees.

On the other hand, heat is measured in Joules, as it measures the amount of energy that the molecules have in a certain object. Therefore, what is measured is the amount of energy a body produces per atom.

If you want to learn more about science, why not know the difference between serum and plasma?

The Difference Between Heat and Temperature - Step 6

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