Although heat and temperature are related, they are not the same. When a substance, the temperature of that substance increases and therefore more heat generally means a higher temperature. In fact, many people know that the temperature increases when a body is warmer, for example, when we have a fever. However, both terminologies have some differences that have to do with our perception.

In this article you will find the differences between heat and temperature .

Heat and temperature are related

In our daily lives we often use these terms. “How hot it is today!” or “It’s 30°C outside” are some examples. Without a doubt, heat and temperature are related. When we refer to temperature we are referring to the speed with which atoms move . Heat, on the other hand, is a measure that refers to how many atoms there are in a substance multiplied by the amount of energy that each atom possesses.

Temperature is the average movement, and does not depend on the number of particles in an object or its size . For example, the temperature of a glass of boiling water is the same as the temperature of a pot of boiling water, even though the latter is much larger.

Thermal energy

Heat is the amount of energy a body possesses , while temperature is a measure of heat or thermal energy measurable by a thermometer. We do not see heat, but we feel it, and many times we use a thermometer to know if it is hotter or cooler in the room, because heat changes temperature.

Both are terms widely used and studied in physics , and with heat the bodies dilate or change their physical state. Heat flows from a warmer object to a colder object. For example, imagine a hot cup of coffee to which cold milk is added. The heat will be distributed between the two substances, and the coffee will not be as hot as a black coffee but the milk will not be as cold as a black milk. As for the temperature, it rises when a substance is heated and falls when it is cooled.

  • If you want to know more about thermal energy, you can read the article “The 15 types of energy: what are they?

Differences between heat and temperature

In the following lines you can find a summary of the differences between heat and temperature.

1. Meaning

There is a fine line that differentiates heat from temperature. While heat is the total energy of the movement of particles found in a substance, temperature is a measure of heat that refers to an average.

2. Symbol

The symbols used in physics vary between the two phenomena. Heat is represented by the symbol “Q”, and as has been said, it is energy, both kinetic and potential, that molecules possess in a piece of matter. As for temperature, is represented by the symbol “T” , and is not energy but a measure of it.

3. Particle properties

With regard to the properties of the particles, the heat depends on the speed, number, size and type of the particles. The temperature, on the other hand, does not depend on these qualities.

4. Its effect

Heat is a physical phenomenon that increases temperature. It dilates, melts, volatilizes or decomposes a body . Temperature is the degree of heat in bodies.

5. Transmission

Heat is transferred from one substance to another and has an effect on the temperature difference. As I explained earlier in the latte example. In addition, this type of energy can be propagated by conduction, convection and radiation.

6. Measuring device

Heat and temperature are measured with different measuring devices . A device called a calorimeter is used to measure heat. However, the temperature is measured with the thermometer.

7. Units of measurement

But not only the measuring devices are different, but also the units of measurement. Heat is measured in Joules, Calories and Kilocalories . In contrast, temperature is measured in Kelvin (K), Celsius (C) or Fahrenheit (F).

The Joule is the energy unit of the international system, a bit special, which can measure heat, work or energy. Therefore, it is a unit of energy equal to Calories: 1 calorie is equivalent to 4.184 joules