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Energy Transfer Definition

Energy transfer is the movement of energy between objects or regions. For example, heating a metal rod at one end causes energy to move to the cooler end by conduction.

View Lesson on Heat: Transfer of Thermal Energy
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Heat: Transfer of Thermal Energy

Fun Facts

  • If an object feels cold to our touch, it's because thermal energy was transferred from our finger to the object.
  • The amount of a substance is one factor that affects the rate of thermal energy transfer.
  • Using different materials can slow or speed up the rate of thermal energy transfer.

Why Do We Need To Know About Energy Transfer

Learning about how energy moves helps us understand how things around us work and why it’s important in many jobs. For example, our clothes keep us warm by stopping heat from escaping, and solar cookers use sunlight to cook food. This idea of energy transfer is used in many ways.

It’s also used to keep people warm in emergencies with special blankets, make hot air balloons fly by heating air, and stop computers from getting too hot. Knowing about energy transfer can make us smarter about the world and lead to jobs in things like green energy, air conditioning and heating, and making food.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between heat and thermal energy?
Thermal energy is the energy contained within a system due to the motion of the particles. Heat is the transfer of thermal energy from a warmer system/object to a cooler system/object.
When the temperature of an object decreases, what has happened?
The particles (atoms/molecules) that make up that object are moving slower. Heat has been transferred from the object to its surroundings or to another object.
What factors determine the thermal properties of a material?
The amount of material (mass) and its composition (what it’s made of).
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