Thermodynamics Directory | Heat Transfer Directory
Heat vs Temperature
In describing heat transfer problems, we often make the mistake of interchangeably using the terms heat and temperature. Actually, there is a distinct difference between the two. Temperature is a measure of the amount of energy possessed by the molecules of a substance. It is a relative measure of how hot or cold a substance is and can be used to predict the direction of heat transfer. The symbol for temperature is T. The common scales for measuring temperature are the Fahrenheit, Rankine, Celsius, and Kelvin temperature scales.
Heat is energy in transit. The transfer of energy as heat occurs at the molecular level as a result of a temperature difference. Heat is capable of being transmitted through solids and fluids by conduction, through fluids by convection, and through empty space by radiation. The symbol for heat is Q. Common units for measuring heat are the British Thermal Unit (Btu) in the English system of units and the calorie in the SI system (International System of Units).