Specific Heat Capacity


Specific heat capacity is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of 1kg of a substance by 1°C

For example, if I have 1kg (1 litre) of water, to raise the temperature by 1°C I would need to transfer 4200J into it by heating.

The Essentials

The equation for specific heat capacity (SHC) is:

Change in energy = mass x specific heat capacity x change in temperature

ΔΕ=m x c x Δθ

REMEMBER: Δ just means change.

Deeper Understanding

If you have two pans, one with water and one with oil and you put each pan on an identical gas burner (so they have the same energy transferred in every second by heating), you would have to leave the pans on the heat for different times to get the same temperature rise.

The practical for SHC is required, they can ask you about it in the exams. Make sure you have downloaded and completed the 100% practical sheet below as part of your revision.

Other Links

100 % practical specific heat capacity

Brian Cox uses Specific Heat Capacity to calculate the energy transferred by the Sun

Review and Rate your Understanding

Have you learnt all the facts on the 100% sheet?

Have you completed the BBC Bitesize tutorial?

Have you been able to complete all the questions on the 100% sheet?

Let us know how you feel about this topic in the comments section below. Any questions you have, just ask.

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