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Thread: Why is "Heat" considered total kinetic energy in c

  1. #1 Why is "Heat" considered total kinetic energy in c 
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    I always thought the thermal energy is the total amount of kinetic energy in a substence, and heat was the process of transfering thermal energy from hot to cold. Today my chemistry teacher explained "heat" as the total amount of kinetic energy in a substence, why is this?


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    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    Temperature, not heat, is a measure of the average kinetic energy of the particles in a substance.

    If the same mass of a gas and a solid have the same average kinetic energies of their particles, their temperatures will be the same. However if you add an equal amount of heat to both they will not rise by the same number of degrees, because their specific heats are different. So the two substance now have different temperatures, meaning different average kinetic energies, even though the same amount of heat was added.

    Heat affects the kinetic energy, but it also affects other forms of energy within the materials, so what your teacher said is not really correct.


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  4. #3  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    Temperature, not heat, is a measure of the average kinetic energy of the particles in a substance.

    If the same mass of a gas and a solid have the same average kinetic energies of their particles, their temperatures will be the same. However if you add an equal amount of heat to both they will not rise by the same number of degrees, because their specific heats are different. So the two substance now have different temperatures, meaning different average kinetic energies, even though the same amount of heat was added.

    Heat affects the kinetic energy, but it also affects other forms of energy within the materials, so what your teacher said is not really correct.
    Well do you have any idea why she said it? Was she trying to point something out because I know she is a good teacher that knows her science.
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    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    No I don't know why she said it, but why don't you ask her? Show her what I wrote and ask her if I'm wrong. You'll be doing everyone a favor - her and her future pupils - and me if it's me that's got it wrong.
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