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# What is the difference between heat and temperature?

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Heat measures the movement of molecules in an object, while temperature measures the average energy or heat generated by the molecules in an object. The faster the molecules move, the more heat they produce and the higher their temperatures become.

## Keep Learning

Molecules are clusters of atoms, which are always in motion. As they bump and slide into each other, they vibrate back and forth and this motion produces heat. Many types of energy are converted into heat, including electrical, mechanical and chemical energy. Electrical energy occurs when you use a heating pad, a toaster or a light bulb. Mechanical heat, for example, is produced when a ball is bounced on the floor. The ball slows with each bounce because some of the motion of the ball's bouncing heats up its surface. Chemical heating occurs when your body uses food as fuel to warm you up.

Temperature determination depends on the size and density of the object being heated. A large object has a lower temperature than a small one, because the kinetic energy or movement within the smaller object is more concentrated and there is less room for it to disperse. Therefore, these molecules just vibrate, which causes more friction and raises the temperature of the object.

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## Related Questions

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Wien's displacement law states that objects that absorb and emit radiation have radiated energy curves that are similar, but peaks at different wavelengths, depending on their temperatures; the wavelength of the maximum energy decreases as the absolute temperature of the object increases and vice-versa. Wien's law is useful for using the visible color of radiant objects, such as stars, to determine the temperature of the object.

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The transfer of heat from an object's surroundings increases the energy of the particles that make up the object. Raising the kinetic energy of a particle increases its movement.

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Heat differs from thermal energy in that heat is the transfer of thermal energy from one location, object or substance to another. Thus, heat is a process that happens to thermal energy and is meaningless without it. Thermal energy is the random kinetic energy of the constituent molecules or atoms of a substance and is transferred as heat via conduction, convection or radiation.