# What is the Difference Between Kinetic Energy and Temperature

The key difference between kinetic energy and temperature is that kinetic energy refers to the property of a moving object, specifically the work needed to accelerate a body from its resting state, whereas temperature is the thermal energy present in all matter.

Kinetic energy and temperature are related terms because the kinetic energy of a system can change according to the temperature changes in that system. For example, increasing the temperature can increase the velocity of the moving particles in the system, thereby increasing the kinetic energy of that system.

### CONTENTS

1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Kinetic Energy
3. What is Temperature
4. Relationship – Kinetic Energy and Temperature
5. Kinetic Energy vs Temperature in Tabular Form
6. Summary

## What is Kinetic Energy

The kinetic energy of an object is the energy that arises due to motion. It is the work we need to accelerate an object having a certain mass from its rest state to a particular velocity state. During the acceleration of the object, it gets kinetic energy and maintains it (at the same level) until the speed changes. In contrast, the object does the same amount of work during decelerating its speed from that particular velocity to the rest state.

The kinetic energy of a non-rotating object having a mass of “m” that is moving at a speed of “v” is as follows;

E = ½mv2

However, this equation is important when speed “v” is a very small value compared to the speed of light. The unit of measurement for kinetic energy is joule, but the English unit for the measurement of kinetic energy is “foot-pound”.

We can simply understand the kinetic energy using the example of a cyclist who uses the chemical energy provided by the food he consumes to accelerate a bicycle to a required speed. Thereafter, the cyclist needs to maintain this energy level without doing any further work (other than the energy required to overcome air resistance and friction).

## What is Temperature?

Temperature is the thermal energy of matter. This term can explain the physical quantity of that system, expressing the hot or cold nature of that system. It is the source of the heat and flow of energy of an object which occurs upon contact with another object that is hotter or colder than itself. The common symbol for temperature is “T” and the SI unit for the measurement of temperature is K (Kelvin).

We can measure the temperature using a thermometer. Usually, a thermometer is calibrated using different temperature scales with various different reference points. The most common scale for temperature measurement is the Celsius scale, and there are other scales such as the Fahrenheit scale and the Kelvin scale.

In theory, the lowest possible temperature value for an object or a system is called absolute zero. At that point, we cannot extract any more thermal energy from a body. At the experimental state, we cannot approach this temperature value, but we can get close to that point.

Typically, the temperature is an important property to study in all fields of natural sciences such as physics, chemistry, Earth science, astronomy, medicine, biology, ecology, material science, metallurgy, mechanical engineering, and geography.

We can describe temperature as a quality of a state of a material, and we can name this property as a more abstract entity compared to any particular temperature scale that we are using to measure it. Some writers tend to name it as hotness.

## What is the Relationship Between Kinetic Energy and Temperature?

Kinetic energy is directly proportional to the temperature applied. When the temperature of a system increases, the vibrations and collisions of molecules in that system increase; therefore, the kinetic energy increases.

## What is the Difference Between Kinetic Energy and Temperature?

Kinetic energy and temperature are two related terms in physical chemistry. Increasing the temperature can increase the kinetic energy because the motion of particles increases when the temperature is increased. The key difference between kinetic energy and temperature is that kinetic energy refers to the property of a moving object and is the work needed to accelerate a body from its resting state, whereas temperature is the thermal energy present in all matter.

The following table summarizes the difference between kinetic energy and temperature.

## Summary – Kinetic Energy vs Temperature

Kinetic energy and temperature are two related terms in physical chemistry. Increasing the temperature can increase the kinetic energy because the motion of particles increases when the temperature is increased. The key difference between kinetic energy and temperature is that kinetic energy refers to the property of a moving object where it is the work needed to accelerate a body from its resting state, whereas temperature is the thermal energy present in all matter.