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TL;DR Latent heat Vs. Sensible heat
Latent heat refers to the amount of thermal energy absorbed or released during a phase transition, such as evaporation or condensation. It is associated with changes in the molecular structure or arrangement of a substance without altering its temperature.
Sensible heat relates to changes in temperature that can be directly measured using a thermometer. It is associated with heating or cooling effects that we can physically perceive through our senses.
Sensible heat transfer occurs when there is direct contact between two objects at different temperatures.
What is latent heat?
Latent heat is the energy absorbed or released by a substance during a phase change, such as melting, freezing, vaporization, or condensation. It doesn’t cause temperature change but alters the molecular structure.
This energy exchange is critical for processes like weather formation, where water vapor condenses to form clouds, releasing latent heat and impacting atmospheric dynamics.
What is sensible heat?
Sensible heat refers to the heat energy that can be measured or sensed by a thermometer. It is the heat that causes a change in temperature without changing the state of matter. In other words, it is the heat we feel and experience on a day-to-day basis.
When you step outside on a hot summer day, you can feel the sensible heat radiating from the sun. The warmth of your morning cup of coffee or the cozy feeling when you sit near a fireplace are all examples of sensible heat.
Unlike latent heat, which is associated with phase changes such as melting or boiling, sensible heat does not involve any change in state. It simply involves an increase or decrease in temperature.
Latent heat Vs. Sensible heat – Key differences
|Energy absorbed/released during phase changes
|Energy involved in temperature changes
|Relates to melting, vaporization, condensation
|Relates to warming or cooling without phase change
|Doesn't cause temperature change
|Directly causes temperature change
|Alters molecular structure during phase transitions
|No change in molecular structure
|No temperature change during phase transition
|Causes temperature rise or fall
|Significant energy involved
|Lesser energy compared to latent heat
|Water boiling, ice melting
|Heating a room, cooling a drink
|Climate processes, cloud formation
|Temperature control, heat transfer
|Vital for weather, energy storage
|Affects comfort, heating, cooling processes
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