What is heat? Whenever you hear the word heat, what usually comes to
your mind? The hot sun, the fire that cooks your food, or a 95 degrees
Fahrenheit during a hot summer?
Unfortunately, none of these situations above properly define heat.
Definition of heat:
Heat is the transfer of energy from one object to another as a result of a temperature difference between the objects.
The word transfer is key here in understanding what heat is.
For example, if you dip your finger inside hot chocolate, energy will enter your finger from the hot chocolate because the temperature of the hot chocolate is higher than the temperature of your finger.
Here is another example that may help you understand better. Your mom takes your temperature and you have a fever of 104 degrees.
Whenever you have a fever, the temperature of your body has risen.
Your body is hot. However, we never say that your body has heat in it. It is incorrect in physics to think that matter can contain heat.
However, it is OK to say that matter may contain energy and this energy may exist in several forms.
While you struggle with your fever, what do you think will happen if you immerse yourself in water with a temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit?
The energy from your body will transfer to the water. This will as a result lower your body temperature. This does not get rid of any infection your body may have, but it helps to keep your body temperature under control.
You may have noticed so far that the transfer always happen from a
warmer object to a cooler object. If you touch ice, why is your hand
It is because the energy that existed in the form of heat in your hand transferred to the ice.
The transfer of energy from the sun to the earth is heat.
The transfer of energy from the fire to your food is heat
A 95 degrees Fahrenheit during a hot summer is not heat. It is just the temperature during a hot summer.