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Does a body have heat energy?

  1. Nov 19, 2014 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Can i say a body has heat energy, like it kinetic or height energy?
    The next formula only shows the energy transfer in change of temperature

    2. Relevant equations
    Heat energy: ##E=c\cdot m\cdot\Delta t##

    3. The attempt at a solution
    I guess not, although it's obvious that the molecules of a hot material have more kinetic energy
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 19, 2014 #2
    Just as a sidenote there is not such a thing as height energy. It is called gravitational potential energy. :)
  4. Nov 19, 2014 #3
    You are right, it is incorrect to say: 'the heat energy of this object is x'. Instead we talk about internal energy which is the kinetic energy of the atoms plus the potential energy that holds the atoms together. We obviously cannot measure internal energy but we can measure change in internal energy which can be due to flow of heat or work done on the system.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2014
  5. Nov 20, 2014 #4
  6. Nov 20, 2014 #5


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    As an aside: Specific heat capacity isn't a constant, it can vary quite a bit with temperature. As I recall the specific heat capacity of water is about double that of ice.
  7. Nov 20, 2014 #6


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    This is true in classical physics. Should the internal energy increase to be comparable to the mass of the constituents, it will add inertia to the object.
  8. Nov 21, 2014 #7
    What kind of energy moves from a hot body to a cold one? i understand there is no special type of energy called heat energy, like there is kinetic and potential energy. i think that when heat moves between bodies actually kinetic energy of the molecules moves, but we still talk about heat moving.
    So, if we cannot say a body has a certain amount of heat energy and rather say it has internal energy, why do we speak of heat transfer? what is heat, then?
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