Difference Between Temperature vs Heat

Difference Between Temperature vs Heat

When you listen to people’s discussions, you will find out that many of them do not seem to know the difference between temperature and heat. No doubt, those two entities share some similarities, which explains why some people do not seem to know the dissimilarities between them. Despite that, they have many contrasts.

So, if you are one of those who do not know the distinction, you are on the verge of learning it. The reason is that this guide explains everything you need to know about them. But before going into their key distinctions, we will start by defining the terms. This will help you grasp the concepts perfectly.

Definition of Temperature

Temperature is the measurement of the hotness or coldness of the body or environment. The standard units for measuring it are Celsius, Kelvin, and Fahrenheit. While trying to measure it, the result could either be negative or positive. For instance, it could be 30 degrees Celsius or -30 degrees Celsius.

Importantly, the symbol that represents temperature is T especially when the value is being worked out mathematically. Another way of looking at the concept is that it is the excitation of the molecules in an atom, which has a relationship with the kinetic energy (K) of the particles in an element. In other words, T and K are directly proportional.

Much as T is not K, the former depends on the latter. For example, when matter is exposed to extreme thermal energy, two things can happen. Either the state of the element changes, or the hotness or coldness of the substance significantly increases. Just before we look at the difference between heat and temperature, we have to break down the meaning of the latter.

Definition of Heat

Heat is the form of energy (both potential and kinetic) that moves from one surface or substance to another. The excitation generated in the process is called thermal energy. When it is applied to a substance, the chances are that its state can change. It has the symbol Q. The state of an element can be solid, liquid, or gaseous.

For instance, when heat is applied to water in a liquid state, it changes to gas as boiling continues. This is known as vaporization. Indeed, the simplest explanation is that the water molecules got excited and moved faster. In the end, they turned to gas and escaped through the available opening. In physics, this excitation can be transferred in three major ways.

Moving on, heat can also be measured, and its SI unit is Joules. There are certain instances where experts measure it using calories. This is understandable considering that the name of the instrument for measuring it is calorimeter. Some experts also define it as the measurement of the total number of atoms in a material. More often than not, the energy in question is transferred from one object or substance to another.   

Main Differences Between Temperature vs Heat

Here is an overview of temperature vs heat.

Basis of comparisonHeatTemperature
MeaningThis is the amount of excitation in a particular set of matter This is the measurement of the hotness or coldness of a body or the environment
FocusThe total kinetic and potential energies of the bodyThe average kinetic energy in the molecules of an atom
CharacteristicMoves from a hotter to cooler objectIt increases whenever it is heated and drops when it is cooled
Working capacityYesNo
Standard unit of measurementThe unit of measurement is joules or caloriesThe units of measurement are Kelvin, Celsius, and Fahrenheit
Measuring instrumentThe measuring instrument is a calorimeterThe measuring instrument is a thermometer
Scientific symbolQT
Likely valuesPositiveBoth positive and negative

Difference Between Temperature and Heat: Conclusion  

In conclusion, it is safe to state that nobody still has the challenge of spotting the dissimilarities between the two concepts upon getting to this point. In summary, this guide has explained the heat vs temperature concept.

To conduct a recap, while the former focuses on the excitation of the matter, the latter concerns the measurement of hotness or coldness of a body or the environment. Finally, you can always refer to the table to understand their key distinctions.