Examples of Thermal Energy

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Last updated on September 12th, 2019 at 07:15 am

Thermal energy or heat is a form of energy that can transfer from one body to another. We measure the hotness of an object by its temperature. And when there is a temperature difference between two entities, thermal energy transfers from a hotter body to a colder one.

SI unit of thermal energy is Joule (J). Other commonly used units are British thermal unit (BTU) and Calorie (C).

We know that all matters, whether in solid, liquid, or gaseous phase, are made up of billions of tiny particles called atoms and molecules. These particles are moving and vibrating all the time. Temperature is a manifestation of the movements of them. These particles move faster when we increase the temperature and move slower when we lower it. Therefore the kinetic energy of these particles increases as we increase the temperature. And we say that a hotter body has higher thermal energy.

SI unit of temperature is Kelvin (K). Two commonly used units of temperature are degree Centigrade (°C) and degree Fahrenheit (°F).

Below I mention 10 Examples of Thermal Energy to make you comfortable with the topic.


Examples of Thermal Energy

  1. The most significant source of thermal energy to humankind is the sun. The distance of the earth from the sun is around 150 million km. Despite this staggering distance, we can feel the heat from the sun on earth.
  2. Geothermal energy is the thermal energy stored in the core of the earth. A volcanic eruption is a manifestation of this thermal energy. In countries like Kenya, Iceland, and the Philippines, a significant share of the total electricity comes from geothermal energy. They are also used to heat up the houses during the winter season.
  3. When you burn a match stick, you transform chemical energy into thermal energy. The tip of a match stick contains several flammable compounds. When we strike a match stick on the surface of the matchbox, frictional force helps to raise the temperature of these compounds above ignition point resulting in the burning of the stick. Read More: Examples of Chemical Energy.
  4. Burning of coal, gasoline, natural gases, or any other flammable compounds is an example of the transformation of potential energy into thermal energy. Useful Post: Examples of Potential Energy.
  5. When we boil water on top of a gas oven, we transfer heat energy to the water resulting in the rise in temperature. Above boiling point, water transforms into water vapor. Related Post: Examples of Evaporation.
  6. When we place a piece of ice on top of a table, thermal energy gets transferred from the environment to the ice. As a result, ice melts down after some time. An opposite phenomenon happens when you keep a glass of water inside a freezer. Now, heat is extracted from the water, and it freezes below the freezing point.
  7. Our body burns foods through a complex reaction, called exothermic reaction. This reaction generates heat to maintain our body temperature. Know More: Examples of Exothermic Reactions.
  8. In a microwave oven or an induction oven, we generate thermal energy from the electrical energy. Related Content: Examples of Electrical Energy.
  9. A refrigerator extracts heat from all the foods stored inside and radiates them in the environment. While the temperature inside the fridge remains low, the outer body feels hotter than the room temperature.
  10. A cup of fresh coffee feels very hot. This is because the water molecules and coffee particles are moving very rapidly. Ice cream feels cold as the molecules inside move slowly. Know More: Examples of Kinetic Energy.

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