Heat energy, often known as thermal energy, is a type of energy produced by the motion of the atom’s components. As a result, heat and energy are two ideas that are inextricably linked.
A simple definition of heat or thermal energy is the energy emitted by any element in the form of heat. This phenomenon happens due to the agitation or movement of a material’s particles.
When the temperature of a substance rises, its particles accelerate, increasing heat energy. As a result, the particles release some of their energy to the outside world.
One of the characteristics of heat energy is that it is transmitted from one substance to another by contact or exposure. By moving one hot item close to another at a lower temperature, heat energy is transferred between the two elements. This continual flow of energy in heat occurs until both components attain thermodynamic equilibrium.
Heat energy is also an essential energy source for generating other types of energy that are beneficial to society. Hence, several types of power plants employ heat or thermal energy types to create, for example, electrical energy.
Examples of Thermal Energy with Pictures
As a thermal energy source, the sun is one of the most prominent and straightforward examples of thermal or heat energy. The sun is a source of thermal energy because the solar radiation it emits heats the earth’s surface and the items and living beings located there. This heat accelerates particles at the atomic level and increases the thermal energy of materials exposed to solar radiation.
Solar panels capture the sun’s energy in the form of heat.
In this manner, the thermal energy received by a solar panel while exposed to sunlight may be stored and turned into other forms of energy, such as electrical energy.
Heating of Water
When a container of water is placed near a heat source, the temperature of the water rises.
In other words, coming in contact with another item of greater temperature causes the water’s thermal energy to grow. When the internal thermal energy of water reaches a particular degree, the composition of the water might change (from liquid to gas) due to the enormous thermal energy contained in the water molecules.
Friction on the surface of two materials or objects causes the kinetic energy of motion to be converted into thermal energy.
That is why our hands become hot when we aggressively rub them; the same is true for all sorts of materials.
An oven’s operation is dependent on the conversion of electrical energy into thermal energy.
When an electric oven is turned on, it employs an electric current to cause its resistors (components capable of converting electrical energy into heat) to emit heat energy, which delivers the heat required for cooking when in contact with food.
How is Thermal Energy created?
When an external agent transfers heat to an element, heat or thermal energy is created.
The element that absorbs the heat increases its internal energy, which causes its particles to travel faster. As a result, the genesis of heat energy is dependent on the agitation of particles at the atomic level.
It is vital to understand how heat energy works to convey this form of energy.
How does it work?
To comprehend how heat energy or thermal energy works, one must first comprehend the thermodynamic laws that regulate it.
Thus, three thermodynamic events are encountered that explain the principles of this sort of energy in the form of heat:
Conduction: It is the transmission of heat energy when two solid components with differing heat energy levels (different temperatures) come into contact. It happens when the element with tremendous heat energy transfers heat to the element with lower heat energy(colder). When both components attain thermal equilibrium, the energy transfer is complete.
Radiation: Any source of electromagnetic radiation capable of conveying thermal energy is referred to as a radiation source. The radiation phenomenon is based on heat transfer via infrared waves released by natural and artificial sources such as the sun or incandescent lights.
Convection: Convection transfers thermal or heats energy through liquids and gases. When a particle’s heat energy grows, it becomes less dense due to the agitation of its electrons towards more exterior orbits. As a result, gases and liquids with higher heat energy are always less dense than those with lower heat energy.
As we have seen, heat energy may present itself in various ways. As a result, heat or thermal energy conversions are widely employed by civilization. We will now look at some different forms of thermal or heat energy.
Geothermal energy is a sort of heat energy that originates in the earth, as the name implies. The ground is a thermal energy source because it absorbs heat from the sun through radiation, but it also receives heat energy by conduction from the earth’s core. This sort of energy is now popular since it is a renewable energy source that supplies households with heating and hot water without electricity.
Solar Photothermal Energy
Photothermal solar energy is thermal energy in which solar radiation is turned into heat, caught, transmitted, and used to create heat or electricity via different methods.
When water is heated to high temperatures, energy is created. When water is heated, it raises its temperature to the point where heat energy is released, which thermoelectric power plants employ to create electricity from water.
Heat energy has several applications for humans; this energy has been associated with human activities from ancient times.
- Thermal energy is the heat source in many houses and residential air conditioning systems.
- Thermal energy is frequently used to create electricity in power plants.
- Many electronic gadgets include components that can capture heat energy via radiation to charge their batteries.
- Humans use thermal energy to prepare food.
- Thermal energy is used to operate many domestic types of equipment, including refrigerators and air conditioners.
The Advantages and Disadvantages
The utilization of thermal energy has several advantages and disadvantages. Each of them is discussed in further depth below.
- Caloric energy is required for most living creatures to survive. Particularly for cold-blooded animals.
- It enables the generation of electricity.
- It is a renewable energy source.
- The is a variety of sources to obtain thermal energy.
- CO2 and other harmful gases are typically discharged into the atmosphere when utilized to create power.
- Using fossil fuels to create thermal energy has a negative environmental impact.
- The initial investment expenses for thermal energy heating systems of any sort are substantially greater than for other types that use various energy sources.
- When thermoelectric power facilities release hot water at high temperatures, it impacts terrestrial and fluvial ecosystems.
Mathematical Formula of Thermal Energy
Thermal energy is utilized in physics, chemistry, and thermodynamics to accomplish numerous computations, experiments, and designs.
The following mathematical formula is used to calculate thermal energy:
Q= Heat energy of the system or element.
M= Mass of the substance.
C= Specific heat.
Ti= Initial temperature of the system.
Tf= Final temperature of the system.