Chemical Energy to Thermal Energy Examples

Chemical Energy to Thermal Energy
Chemical energy is a potential form of energy that is stored in the chemical bonds that hold atoms together. If bonds are broken, the energy is released, and if bonds are formed, energy is absorbed. Thermal energy is often referred to as heat energy. As molecules move faster and gain kinetic or moving energy, the temperature of the substance increases. During conversions from chemical energy to thermal energy, the energy stored in the chemical bonds are released and this energy causes surrounding molecules to move faster thus increasing the thermal energy of a substance.
Examples of Chemical Energy to Thermal Energy:

1. Coal is burned at a power plant. The chemical energy released as the coal is burned heats water and turns it into steam. The chemical energy causes the liquid water molecules to move faster increasing their thermal energy.

2. Gasoline is burned in a car engine. As the gas burns, small explosions release heat or thermal energy which makes the pistons move so the car go.

3. A furnace burns natural gas in a chemical reaction. As the natural gas burns, heat is released causing air molecules to move faster. The temperature of the air increases because they have more thermal energy which is used to heat a house.

4. Hand warmers used for hunting operate by chemical reaction. When the contents of the bag are mixed together, a chemical reaction causes chemical bonds to break releasing energy. This energy causes the thermal energy of the solution inside the bag to increase and we feel heat to warm our hands.

5. A butane torch burns butane gas. As the chemical bonds are broken during the reaction, heat is released. The heat is used to increase the thermal energy of a metal which melts and is used to weld pipes together.

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