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Ripon High School, Physical Science, Spring 2012, Spierings

Thermal Energy

The total potential and kinetic energy of all the particles in an object


The transfer of thermal energy from one object to another because of a temperature difference


The measure of how hot or cold an object is compared to a reference point

Fahrenheit (°F)

Of or relating to a temperature scale that registers the freezing point of water as 32°F and the boiling point as 212°F at one atmosphere of pressure

Celsius Scale (°C)

A temperature scale where the freezing and boiling points of water are chosen as reference points.

Kelvin Scale (K)

A scale at which the reference point is at which all motion of particles ceases.

Absolute Zero

The temperature at which all motion of particles inside a sample of mass ceases.

Specific Heat

The amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of a material by 1 Celsius degree


The transfer of heat with no overall transfer of matter


The transfer of heat when particles of a liquid or gas move from one point to another


The transfer of heat by waves moving through empty space

Thermal Conductor

A material that conducts thermal energy well

Thermal Insulator

A material that conducts thermal energy poorly

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