Difference between Heat and thermal energy

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Leah.J
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I read on the internet that heat is thermal energy being transferred, why do we do need two different terms ?
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Callicious
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It all comes from when you consider thermodynamics and work and the transfer of thermal energy/etc. Thermal energy itself is just kinetic energy in various forms, rotation, vibration, etc.

When you consider a monatomic ideal gas (for example) doing some isothermal expansion, the temperature remains constant, thus the thermal energy must remain constant for the gas. The gas does however do work while it expands, pushing on the outward pressure surrounding it. How does that work? How can it do work without losing this thermal energy associated with it? We say that there is a flow of thermal energy into the gas which goes into doing this work, and we call it heat to help make things easier.
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Kallisto
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(Original post by Leah.J)
I read on the internet that heat is thermal energy being transferred, why do we do need two different terms ?
Energy and heat are different things in thermodynamics nonetheless. (Thermal) Energy means an amount of a quantity to get things in movement as in the gas particles. The heat is what is left after a part of this was transferred to Energy. And the heat in turn is responsible for the degree of entropy, that is to say how many and fast particles are in movement.

So while the (thermal) energy is considered for the movements of gas particles, the heat is considered for their entropy. Two different things and that is why two different quantities!
Last edited by Kallisto; 2 years ago
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