Q:

# Where does thermal energy come from?

A:

Thermal energy is created from the motion of atoms and molecules within an object. Because thermal energy is created by the movement of particles, it is considered a form of kinetic energy.

## Keep Learning

Thermal energy is related to temperature and heat, but it is not the same thing. Thermal energy refers only to the energy contained within an object due to the movement of its particles. Since particles are always in motion, all objects, whether they are hot or cold in temperature, have some measure of thermal energy. Heat energy refers to the energy transferred between two objects due to a temperature difference between them.

As the speed of an object's particles increases as the object increases in temperature, the transfer of heat energy to an object also results in an increase in its thermal energy. This does not necessarily mean that a hotter object contains more thermal energy than a cooler object. Because larger objects have a larger number of particles, they always contain more thermal energy than smaller objects of the same temperature. Consequently, it is possible for a block of ice of sufficient mass to contain more thermal energy than a much smaller object that is on fire.

Sources:

## Related Questions

• A:

Brownian movement is caused by the constant, random motion of fluid molecules or atoms impacting and pushing larger particles. The motion of these molecules or atoms is equivalent with their temperature, so Brownian movement is more rapid and energetic when the fluid's temperature is higher.

Filed Under:
• A:

Daniel Bernoulli's kinetic theory of matter states that all things – liquids, solids or gases – are made up of atoms and molecules that are in constant motion. The theory also states that collisions between atoms and molecules are elastic.

Filed Under:
• A:

Flame photometers work by separating a chemical sample into its constituent atoms and molecules and then analyzing the colors emitted by the chemicals as they absorb and then release energy. Flame photometers are most commonly used in inorganic chemistry as a way of detecting and identifying the compounds present in metal salts.