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Thermal energy is the part of the total, internal energy of a thermodynamic syst em or sample of matter that results in the system's temperature. The internal en ergy, also often called the thermodynamic energy, includes other forms of energy in a thermodynamic system in addition to thermal energy, namely forms of potent ial energy, such as the chemical energy stored in its molecular structure and el ectronic configuration, intermolecular interactions, and the nuclear energy that binds the sub-atomic particles of matter. Microscopically, the thermal energy is the kinetic energy of a system's constitu ent particles, which may be atoms, molecules, electrons, or particles in plasmas . It originates from the individually random, or disordered, motion of particles in a large ensemble. The thermal energy is equally partitioned between all avai lable quadratic degrees of freedom of the particles. These degrees of freedom ma y include pure translational motion in fluids, normal modes of vibrations, such as intermolecular vibrations or crystal lattice vibrations, or rotational states . In general, the availability of any such degrees of freedom is a function of t he energy in the system, and therefore depends on the temperature. When two thermodynamic systems with different temperatures are brought into diat hermic contact, they exchange energy in form of heat, which is a transfer of the rmal energy from the system of higher temperature to the colder system. This hea t may cause work to be performed on each system, for example, in form of volume or pressure changes. This work may be used in heat engines to convert thermal en ergy into mechanical energy. When two systems have reached a thermodynamic equil ibrium, they have attained the same temperature and the net exchange of thermal energy ceases. Thermal energy is distinct from heat. In the strict use in physics, heat is a ch aracteristic only of a process, i.e., it is absorbed or produced as an energy ex change, but it is not a static property of matter. Matter does not contain heat, but thermal energy. Heat is thermal energy in the process of transfer or conver sion across a boundary of one region of matter to another