Specific Heat Capacity

When the temperature of an object increases it has gained energy. The amount of energy depends on:

  • The temperature change, θ
  • The mass of the object, m
  • The specific heat capacity, c

The specific heat capacity is different for different materials. It is the energy needed to increase the temperature of 1 kg of the material by 1°C and is measured in J/kg °C.

Energy = mass × specific heat capacity × temperature change
E = m × c × θ

Build Your Understanding - This is how to measure the specific heat capacity of a metal block:

  • Measure the temperature and the mass of the block, m.
  • Use an electric heater to raise the temperature of a metal block. Energy supplied, E = power × time.
  • Measure the temperature of the block at the end of the heating time and calculate the increase in temperature θ.
  • Calculate the specific heat capacity of the metal,

c =   E  
    m × θ

The video below explains more about specific heat capacity