In physical science, heat is important to all aspects of life, especially plants and mammals. Plant life relies on heat, among other things, to survive as well. Heat is a result of energy, which can be beneficial as well as dangerous. Understanding the properties and uses of heat can help increase efficiency of heat or energy use as well as increase understanding of things like weather changes and survival.
Mammals consume food, which provides calories for the body. The bodies then convert the calories consumed into energy through metabolizing the food consumed. When the body of a person gets too hot, sweat is secreted to evaporate and cool the body off; when too cold, the body shivers, helping it to increase body temperature. But if the body temperature drops too dramatically, hypothermia can threaten existence. Some animals, such as elephants, are designed to survive in one type of climate, while other animals adapt with weather changes. For instance, dogs develop a thick undercoat in the colder months to keep their bodies warm.
Plants need water and sunlight to grow, but many also need heat. The transportation of foods grown in one region to markets in another region can increase costs of the foods and decrease their overall nutritional value, depending on the length of travel. Greenhouses allow farmers to grow some plants or foods earlier or later in the growing season by trapping heat and producing a more ideal climate for plant survival. Greenhouses also help protect plants for organic gardeners.
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Energy and Safety
Solar energy traps heat from sunlight and converts it into usable energy. This is a virtually limitless resource, at least for as long as the sun survives. In combustion engines, fuel is burned and produces a different type of heat energy. Likewise, old trains ran on burning coal. Homes contain stoves usually powered by natural gas or electricity. The stoves provide a cooking range for food, increasing safety by reducing harmful bacteria and organisms in the food.
Fire fighters see fire as an extremely dangerous event that quickly gets out of control whether in a home, building, campground, or a forest or brush fire. As a fire increases in size and temperature, it can cause everything nearby to simply burn. Methods of quickly reducing the heat from a fire can save lives and prevent unnecessary damage, making fire fighters’ work a little easier.