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Specific heat capacity
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Specific heat capacity

The specific heat capacity (abbreviated s, also called specific heat) of a substance is defined as the amount of heat energy required to raise the temperature of one gram of the substance by one Kelvin (equivalently one degree Celsius). Specific heat capacity is therefore heat capacity per unit mass.

Table of contents
1 Approximation
2 Table of specific heat capacities
3 Related concepts
4 See also


Actually, this is only an approximation of heat capacity. An approximation is possible because measuring the slope (derivative) of the internal energy due to random motion of atoms in a sample as a function of temperature, normalized by dividing by the mass of the sample, is normally almost linear. The SI unit for specific heat capacity is joule per kilogram per kelvin (J·kg-1·K-1). 1 J·kg-1·K-1 is identical to 1 m2/(s2·K), which is non-intuitive, but involves only SI base units.

Factors that influence heat capacity measurements:

Heat capacity can be measured by using calorimetry.

Table of specific heat capacities

Substance Phase at 101.325 kPa (=1 atm), 20°C ca. Specific heat capacity (J×g-1×°C-1)
Aluminum solid 0.900
Gold solid 0.129
Graphite solid 0.720
Diamond solid 0.502
Copper solid 0.385
Iron solid 0.444
Mercury liquid 0.139
Water liquid 4.184
Ethanol liquid 2.46

Related concepts

See also