Specific Heat Capacity

Specific Heat Capacity

If you look back at the graph, the straight line sections suggest that to change the temperature of water by 1oC takes a certain amount of energy whether the rise is from 1 to 2oC or from 90 to 91oC. This is true! The amount of energy required is called the Specific Heat Capacity.

The definition of Specific Heat Capacity is:

"The amount of energy required to raise the temperature of 1 kg (a unit mass) of the substance by 1oC (a unit temperature rise)"

Symbol: c

Unit: Jkg-1K-1

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Where:

ΔQ is the heat energy added (or removed)

m is the mass of the substance you are heating (or cooling)

Δθ is the change in temperature.

Note: the value of 'c' for ice isn't the same as that for water or for steam. However, the value of 'c' is the same if you are cooling rather than heating the substance. In other words you get as much heat back out of the substance when you cool it as you put in when you heated it.

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