# Distinguishing Temperature, Heat, and Internal Energy

## Distinguishing Temperature, Heat, and Internal Energy

Using the kinetic theory, a clear distinction between these three properties can be made.

• Temperature is related to the kinetic energies of the molecules of a material. It is the average kinetic energy of individual molecules.
• Internal energy refers to the total energy of all the molecules within the object. It is an extensive property, therefore when two equal-mass hot ingots of steel may have the same temperature, but two of them have twice as much internal energy as one does.
• Finally, heat is the amount of energy flowing from one body to another spontaneously due to their temperature difference.

It must be added, when a temperature difference does exist heat flows spontaneously from the warmer system to the colder system. Thus, if a 5 kg cube of steel at 100°C is placed in contact with a 500 kg cube of steel at 20°C, heat flows from the cube at 300°C to the cube at 20°C even though the internal energy of the 20°C cube is much greater because there is so much more of it.

A particularly important concept is thermodynamic equilibrium. In general, when two objects are brought into thermal contact, heat will flow between them until they come into equilibrium with each other.

References:
Nuclear and Reactor Physics:
1. J. R. Lamarsh, Introduction to Nuclear Reactor Theory, 2nd ed., Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA (1983).
2. J. R. Lamarsh, A. J. Baratta, Introduction to Nuclear Engineering, 3d ed., Prentice-Hall, 2001, ISBN: 0-201-82498-1.
3. W. M. Stacey, Nuclear Reactor Physics, John Wiley & Sons, 2001, ISBN: 0- 471-39127-1.
4. Glasstone, Sesonske. Nuclear Reactor Engineering: Reactor Systems Engineering, Springer; 4th edition, 1994, ISBN: 978-0412985317
5. W.S.C. Williams. Nuclear and Particle Physics. Clarendon Press; 1 edition, 1991, ISBN: 978-0198520467
6. Kenneth S. Krane. Introductory Nuclear Physics, 3rd Edition, Wiley, 1987, ISBN: 978-0471805533
7. G.R.Keepin. Physics of Nuclear Kinetics. Addison-Wesley Pub. Co; 1st edition, 1965
8. Robert Reed Burn, Introduction to Nuclear Reactor Operation, 1988.
9. U.S. Department of Energy, Nuclear Physics and Reactor Theory. DOE Fundamentals Handbook, Volume 1 and 2. January 1993.