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Heat and thermal energy question

  1. Dec 6, 2007 #1
    I've read books saying that heat and thermal energy are the same and Ive read other books saying they are not the same. I'm confused now. Which of them is right? or maybe they're both right?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 6, 2007 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    They are not exactly the same, but they are very closely related. Heat is a transfer of energy from one body to another due to a difference in temperature. Thermal energy is the portion of energy of a system which increases with temperature.

    I kind of think of thermal energy as potential heat. In that sense the relationship between heat and thermal energy is similar to the relationship between work and potential energy.
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