Thermal Energy : Definition, Examples

Published on 01-Oct-2022

Thermal energy

The energy that is transferred from one place to another owing to changes in temperature is known as thermal energy. It is found in hot objects. It is used to measure the kinetic energy of atoms and molecules of an object. It is an example of kinetic energy. Hence, it can be said that thermal energy is proportional to temperature. If the temperature of an object is higher, its molecules vibrate faster and thus produce higher thermal energy. 

This thermal energy can be stored and transferred using thermal storage technology. 

Some of the uses of thermal energy storage may include:

· It is incredibly helpful in concentrating the solar energy from solar plants where it can constantly supply power even at night

· Thermal storage ensures the reliability of the heat supply in power plants.

· It is also helpful in preventing the loss of heat by recovering and using heat in industrial operations.

Thermal energy transfer can occur in three ways conduction, convection, radiation

1. Conduction: thermal conduction is the transfer of heat through the physical collisions between molecules and atoms of the object. E.g., an empty pot heating up from holding hot water. The heat is transferred from the water molecules to the molecules of the pan.

2. Convection: thermal convection is the transfer of heat from a solid to any fluid, such as liquids or gasses, through the movement of said fluid. It occurs in fluids. When the fluid is heated, it expands, becomes lighter, and rises upwards, causing cooler and denser fluid to sink. These cooler molecules are then heated. That is how a convection current is set up and heat is transferred. E.g., boiling water in a pot and stove.

3. Radiation: radiation occurs when heat is transferred through the emission of electromagnetic radiation through space that can be absorbed and reemitted by colder objects. E.g., the ground is heating up because of the Sun.

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