THERMAL ENERGY &
METHODS OF HEAT
Energy and Atoms
In order to understand the different forms of
energy, atoms need to be discussed.
Atoms are the smallest particles of all matter.
Matter is anything around you that takes up
space and has mass, even if you can’t see it.
Atoms get together to form different things all
When these atoms move faster or slower they
transfer different forms of energy.
Types of Energy
Energy in science is defined as the ability to do
There are many different forms of energy and
• Mechanical Energy
• Thermal Energy
• Electrical Energy
• Chemical Energy
• Radiant Energy
Thermal energy is a form of energy that results
in an increase of temperature.
However thermal energy is not Temperature.
Thermal energy is when energy is being
transferred from fast moving atoms in
Fast moving particles
Temperature is a measure of the average kinetic
energy of particles in an object.
Kinetic energy is energy of movement.
If atoms in an object are moving faster, the
temperature of that object increases.
When these particles bump into each other they
transfer energy that produces heat.
Thermal energy is energy that comes from
inside of objects due to the movement of the
atoms of that object.
Temperature is just a measure of thermal energy
Measure of Temperature
Celsius is the unit used to measure temperature
in the metric system.
Fahrenheit is the unit used to measure
temperature in the English method.
Solid, Liquid and Gas
Solids have tightly packed particles.
Liquids have particles that are loose.
Gases have particles that are spread apart.
Thermal Energy in Action
Thermal Energy & Heat
Thermal energy happens when particles move
faster or slower.
When thermal energy is transferred from object
to object it produces heat.
Thermal Energy and Heat
Thermal energy moves (is transferred) from
warmer objects to cooler ones.
Thermal energy can be transferred in 3 ways:
Conduction, Convection & Radiation
Have you ever picked up a spoon that had been
inside a hot pot or coffee cup? How did it feel?
HOT!!!! But, how did it get so hot and why?
Conduction is when thermal energy is
transferred from touching particles.
The thermal energy from the hot pot
of food or the cup of coffee was transferred
from the food or coffee to the spoon.
As the part of the spoon in the boiling water
becomes warmer, the atoms and molecules
move faster….increasing its temperature.
These particles hit (collide) with the slower
particles in the spoon, and the thermal energy
Conduction - Visual
Good Conductors & Insulators
• Thermal energy moves differently depending on
the materials its moving to.
• When it moves though metals, it moves faster.
This is why a metal spoon gets
hotter than a wooden spoon when
• When it moves through clothing
it moves slower, these are insulators
• Thermal energy can also be transferred by
particles that move from one place to another.
Convection – transfers thermal energy when
particles move between objects or areas that
have different temperature.
Convection in Weather
Convection - Visual
Comes from Radiant Energy (sunlight)
• Radiation is when Thermal energy is transferred by
• These waves can be visible (light waves) or invisible.
• The sun transfers energy to the Earth via radiation.
• When you stand by a fire the radiation of heat makes
you feel warm.
• A microwave cooks your food using microwave
radiationto transfer energy to your food.
Radiation – Visual
We use all 3!