Heat vs. Temperature

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Alisha John

The main difference between heat and temperature is that heat is the form of energy stored in the body to perform work while temperature is the measure of the heat of the body. The two main types of energy (kinetic energy and potential energy) are included in the heat energy contained by the molecules in a matter. However, the temperature only measures the kinetic energy of the molecules.

Both of these terms get confused with each other due to their high relativity with the daily activities of life. These two properties correlate with each other but are entirely different from each other. By increasing the heat transferred to the body the temperature change. We can measure the change in the temperature of the body but cannot measure the heat.

As the temperature is the measure of the only kinetic energy of the molecule so the heat is transferred to increase the kinetic energy of the molecules causing the change in the temperature of the body. Heat can also change the physical state of matter.

Heat is measured by a device called a calorimeter. While the device that measures the temperature of the body is called a thermometer.

What is Heat?

Heat vs. Temperature

Heat is the form of energy transferred in the form of energy from a hotter body to a colder body. If two bodies are having different temperatures energy will be transferred in the form of heat until the equilibrium is established between these two bodies’ temperatures.

Heat energy-matter also changes its physical form from one to another. Heat transformed the solids into liquids and liquids into gaseous form.

Modes of Transfer of Heat

There are the following ways through which heat is transferred from one body to another.

  • Conduction

This transfer of heat is carried out in solid objects and fluid in the rest position. Heat travels from one atom to another.

  • Convention

It is carried out in liquids and gaseous states where the molecules are in motion.

  • Radiation

Heat is transferred through the vacuum due to radiation. Heat energy from the sun reached the earth due to the radiation.

Advantages of Heat

  • Heat is convertible from one type of energy to another and can be used by various means.
  • Our body changes chemical energy into heat energy to carry out our daily activities.
  • Our meal is cooked due to heat energy.
  • Heat energy is used as fuel to run factories, industries, vehicles, and households.
  • We need heat energy to keep ourselves warm during winter and it is also used in ironing clothes.

Disadvantages of Heat

  • Heat energy causes a constant greenhouse effect and is increasing global warming.
  • A huge quantity of heat energy gets wasted during the transfer from one form to another.
  • The burning of different materials and waste including industrial and household waste is causing a serious increase in pollution.
  • Heat energy can also cause serious injuries and can cause great loss if not used under controlled circumstances.

What is Temperature?

Heat vs. Temperature

Temperature is simply defined as the measure of the hotness or coldness of the body. It is the average kinetic energy of the molecules of matter. Temperature is independent of the size and the number of molecules in the body. It identifies how hot or cold a body is in degrees.

There are various scales to measure temperature. These are:

  • Kelvin
  • Celsius
  • Fahrenheit

Due to an increase in the heat of the body, the molecules vibrate with more kinetic energy and it causes an increase in the temperature. The most commonly used instrument to measure temperature is a thermometer.

Advantages of Temperature

  • Maintaining the internal body temperature of the organism is vital for the existence of life.
  • Most of the body enzymes work on specific body temperatures.
  • In industries, temperature maintenance is very important for the reaction to take place. A huge quantity of fossil fuels is used during this process.
  • All living organisms have their internal body temperature maintained to proceed with their physical and chemical activities smoothly.
  • Maintaining the internal temperature make them independent of the external environment.

Disadvantages of Temperature

  • Our body enzymes get degenerated due to changes in the constant internal body temperature.
  • A large quantity of fuel is required to attain a constant temperature for the reaction to take place in the industry.
  • Living organisms having their fixed internal body temperature need to maintain it during summer and winter through different adaptations.

Comparison Chart between Heat and Temperature

Basis for comparison Heat temperature
Definition Heat is defined as a form of energy that can be transferred from one body to another due to temperature differences. Temperature is defined as the measure of the hotness and coldness of the body measured by using different scales.
Unit The unit of heat is Joules. The unit of temperature is Kelvin, Celsius, and Fahrenheit.
Symbol It is represented by Q. It is represented by T.
SI unit Its SI unit is Joule. Its SI unit is Kelvin.
Source of travel Heat is transferred from one body to another due to temperature differences. Temperature change is due to the loss or gain of heat from a body.


Exchanging capability Heat can be exchanged between two bodies due to differences in heat. Temperature can vary from one body to another but is not exchangeable.
Workability Heat is responsible for doing work. Temperature can only measure the degree of heat.
Function Heat has a path function. The temperature has a point function.
Thermodynamic system Heat is not part of a thermodynamic (as a property) system. Temperature is one of the properties of a thermodynamic system.


Temperature and heat both are different concepts of thermodynamics. Both these terms get confused often however both are different. Heat is a form of energy that is used to perform work while temperature is the measure of the heat of the body. As heat travels from one body to another depending upon the particles of the body however temperature does not travel. Booth these properties play different roles in our daily life as well as in the world of science.