Thermal Energy Meaning

What is Thermal Energy:

Thermal energy is the energy of all the particles that make up a body. The oscillation of temperature in the body is a sign of the increase (heat) or decrease (cool) of its internal energy. The gain or loss of that internal energy during the process is called heat.

Thermal energy, or thermoelectric energy, intervenes in the calorific processes that occur when two bodies of different temperatures come into contact, the energy that is transmitted from body to body as a result of temperature differences is what is called thermal energy.

See also Thermoelectric Power.

Thermal energy can be acquired through different means such as:

  • nature and the sun,
  • exothermic reactions through the combustion of some fuel,
  • the nuclear reaction that can be caused by fission (when it originates in the atomic nucleus) or by fusion (when several atomic nuclei have a similar charge, they unite to give rise to a heavier nucleus with the release of a large amount of energy);
  • The joule effect is when a conductor circulates electric current and the kinetic energy of the electrons is transformed as a result of the shocks that the electric charges of the body experience and,
  • friction as a consequence of different chemical or mechanical processes.

See also Nuclear fission.

The unit of energy defined by the International System of Units is the Joule or Joule (J). Similarly, thermal energy is expressed in calories (Cal) or kilocalories (Kcal).

The principle of conservation of energy indicates that "Energy is neither created nor destroyed, it only transforms from one to the other."

See also Energy.

Caloric or calorific energy

Despite being used as a synonym for thermal energy, it is not exactly the same thing. Heat energy refers exclusively to the emanation of heat in its calorific phenomena, therefore the distinction is made between thermal energy and simply heat.

Thermal energy is closely linked to heat and temperature. Heat is the measure of thermal energy, that is, the more heat that a body can emanate means that it has a greater capacity for thermal energy.

Temperature on the other hand is the sensation of heat, that is, it shows us the level of thermal energy that a body has at that moment.

Heat can be transmitted from one body to another, through:

  • radiation by electromagnetic waves such as heat energy from the sun,
  • conduction when energy is transmitted from a hot body to a cold body, in the case of two bodies with the same temperature there is no energy transfer (for example, when we touch a cold object with the hand, thermal or heat energy is transmitted to the object causing the feeling of cold in our hand) and,
  • convection when hot molecules are transported from one side to another such as the wind.

Thermal energy and other types of natural energies

Thermal energy and solar thermal energy

Solar thermal energy is a type of renewable energy that consists of transforming solar energy into thermal energy or heat. Solar thermal energy uses the radiation that we receive directly from the sun and this is responsible for heating the fluids to temperatures ranging between 40 ° and 50 ° degrees. Due to the above, thermal energy is energy manifested in the form of heat.

See also Solar energy.

Thermal energy and geothermal energy

Obtaining thermal energy causes an environmental impact due to the release of carbon dioxide (CO2), polluting emissions and radioactive waste, in addition to the use of power generating plants that can cause pollution due to the use of materials such as oil or products. derived petrochemicals.

On the other hand, geothermal energy is that energy that is obtained from the interior of the earth, in a natural way, it is a renewable and clean energy since it does not cause any damage to the environment. Geothermal comes from the Greek geo which means "Earth", and thermos, "heat"; therefore, it is the "heat of the earth."

See also Geothermal energy.

Thermal energy and electrical energy

Thermal energy can be transformed into electrical energy, for example fossil fuels: they cause electricity through the heat energy produced by the combustion of diesel, coal, natural gas, among other heavy oils. Electrical energy is the result of a potential difference between two points that allows an electrical current to be created between them when they come into contact with an electrical conductor.

Thermal energy and chemical energy

Thermal energy is a type of energy released in the form of heat due to the contact of a body with a higher temperature to another with a lower temperature, as well as it can be obtained by different situations or means as previously mentioned. Chemical energy is that which has a chemical bond, that is, it is an energy produced solely by chemical reactions.

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