July 2021

Heat And Temperature: What Are The Difference Between Them?

July 9, 2021

JC Physics Tuition, Physics Tuition

Temperature and heat are two scientific concepts that play a significant role in our day to day lives. Both topics are closely related, and as such, there is often some confusion among the public about their key differences.

Although they are often used interchangeably in our everyday conversations, the fact remains that they each have distinct meanings. Simply put, temperature represents an accurate measurement of energy and shows the degree of how hot or cold a substance is, while heat is defined as a form of energy that is transferred between entities of varying temperatures. Let us share an in-depth analysis of the two concepts so you can gain a better understanding of the differences between them.

What is heat?

Before diving into how heat and temperature differ, it is vital to understand each concept individually, starting with heat. Apart from the initial definition stated earlier, heat can be defined as a body’s total available amount of stored energy.

It is a form of energy that can pass from one source to another, generally from a hotter object to a colder one, and its change is a constant in all chemical reactions. Heat also comprises part kinetic energy and part potential energy and is usually measured using the energy unit called Joule/s.

What is temperature?

Temperature is described as the measurement of the average kinetic energy per molecule in a given substance. Unlike heat, temperature measurement is an average quantification that is relevant to the particles’ motion and is wholly detached from the substance’s mass or particle type. Temperature is also considered an intensive variable, which means that the amount of material within an object does not affect its measurement.

The key differences between the two

1. The heat found in a given object signifies its molecules’ total amount of energy (or the sum of the kinetic and potential energy). In contrast, its temperature is related only to its average kinetic energy.

2. Heat is measured with the energy units Joules or calories. Temperature, meanwhile, is measured in either Kelvin, Fahrenheit, or Celsius.

3. The available heat in a given entity is measured using a calorimeter. This device is specifically used to calculate heat content using the calorimetry principle. When measuring the temperature of a substance, a thermometer device is used instead.

4. An object’s heat is dependent on various factors, such as the particle type or their mass. On the other hand, we are only concerned with the substance’s molecular movement during the measurement of the object’s temperature.

5. Heat is the measurement of the output of a substance’s particles and each of its energy content. Meanwhile, temperature measurement correlates to the slowness or quickness of the transfer of molecules during heat change.


Now that you have gained a clearer understanding of the two concepts, it is essential for you to differentiate them clearly when talking about them, so the person you are speaking to can clearly understand which concept you are referring to.

Physics concepts such as these can often overlap, making it challenging to fully comprehend them without the guidance of a knowledgeable instructor. So if you are keen on gaining a better grasp on these complexities and improve your overall grades in physics, you should consider signing up for tuition classes. At Best Physics TuitionTM Centre, we offer both O level physics tuition and JC physics tuition. Sign up for our classes and learn more about the universe with us today!

WhatsApp chat