Specific Heat

The specific heat is a physical property that is related to the heat received and its thermal variation.

It tells us the amount of heat needed to increase (or decrease) the temperature of 1°C for each 1g of the element or substance.

That is, the higher the specific heat of a substance, the greater the amount of heat that must be supplied (or removed) from it for temperature variations to occur.


We use the following formula to calculate the specific heat of the substances:

c = Q/(m.Δθ), c = C/m

(Typically this formula is displayed as Q=m.c.Δθ)

  • c: specific heat (cal/g°C or J/Kg.K)
  • Q: amount of heat (lime or J)
  • m: mass (g or Kg)
  • Δθ: temperature variation (°C or K)
  • C: thermal capacity (cal/°C or J/K)


International System (SI)

The specific heat is measured in J/Kg.K (Joule per kilogram and Kelvin).


The cal/g.°C unit (calorie per gram and by degree Celsius) is still very common.

Specific Heat Molar

Instead of defining the substance in (kg) or (g), we use the "mol" or number of atoms or molecules.

Thermal Capacity

The thermal capacity is the amount of heat present in a body in relation to the temperature variation suffered by it.

It can be calculated by the following formula:

C = Q/Δθ

C = m.c

  • C: thermal capacity (cal/°C or J/K)
  • Q: amount of heat (lime or J)
  • Δθ: temperature variation (°C or K)
  • m: mass (g or Kg)
  • c: specific heat (cal/g°C or J/KgK)

According to wikipedia…

In thermodynamics, the specific heat capacity (symbol c p) of a substance is the heat capacity of a sample of the substance divided by the mass of the sample. Informally, it is the amount of heat that must be added to one unit of mass of the substance in order to cause an increase of one unit in temperature.

Table of contents

Now it is time to talk about:

  • What does specific heat mean
  • Can specific heat be negative
  • What does specific heat measure
  • What is specific heat used for
  • Can specific heat be used to identify substances
  • Specific heat symbol
  • Specific heat vs heat capacity
  • Specific heat vs latent heat
  • Specific heat vs thermal conductivity
  • How is specific heat related to temperature
  • What is specific heat ratio
  • How to calculate specific heat ratio
  • How do you calculate specific heat capacity
  • How to determine specific heat
  • Specific heat equation
  • How to calculate specific heat at constant pressure
  • How to use a calorimeter to find specific heat
  • How to find final temperature with specific heat
  • Which substance has highest specific heat
  • Specific heat units
  • How to convert molar heat capacity to specific heat

Can Specific Heat Be Negative

It’s a common misconception that specific heat can be negative. It is possible for the values to be positive or even zero, but never negative.

The misunderstanding comes from not understanding what specific heat is in the first place.

Specific heat refers to how much energy it takes to raise one gram of material by one degree Celsius.

What is Specific Heat Used For

Specific heat is a measurement used in thermodynamics and calorimetry that states the amount of heat energy necessary to increase the temperature of a given mass of a particular substance by some amount.

Can Specific Heat Be Used To Identify Substances

Specific heat is an intensive property (like density, color, etc.) that does not depend on the amount of a substance present.

So yes, this allows substances to be identified using their specific heat.

Specific heat symbol

C p

Specific heat vs heat capacity

Specific heat is the amount of heat energy required by a unit of mass of a substance to raise its temperature through 1℃ or 1 k.

On the other hand, heat capacity is the amount of heat energy required by a substance to raise its temperature by 1℃ or 1 K.

Specific heat vs latent heat

Latent heat is the energy absorbed or released when a substance is undergoing a phase change.

Specific heat is the quantity of heat required to raise the temperature of one gram of a substance by one degree Celsius (or one Kelvin) at a constant pressure.

Specific heat vs thermal conductivity

Thermal conductivity is the ability to transfer heat while the specific heat is the ability to hold a particular amount of heat.

How is specific heat related to temperature

Unlike the total heat capacity, the specific heat capacity is independent of mass or volume.

It describes how much heat must be added to a unit of mass of a given substance to raise its temperature by one degree Celsius.

The heat capacity and the specific heat are related by C=cm or c=C/m.

How to Calculate Specific Heat Ratio

K = cp / cv.

The Ratio of Specific Heat can be expressed as: k = cp / cv

The ratio of the specific heats γ = CP/CV is a factor in adiabatic engine processes and in determining the speed of sound in a gas.

Specific heat equation

Cv = Q / (ΔT ⨉ m) .

The specific heat capacity is the heat or energy required to change one unit mass of a substance of a constant volume by 1 °C.

The formula is Cv = Q / (ΔT ⨉ m) .

How to Find Final Temperature With Specific Heat

Rewrite the specific-heat equation, Q=mcΔT.

The letter "Q" is the heat transferred in an exchange in calories, "m" is the mass of the substance being heated in grams, "c" is its specific heat capacity and the static value, and "ΔT" is its change in temperature in degrees Celsius to reflect the change in temperature.

Which Substance Has Highest Specific Heat


Specific heat of water is higher than any other substance or medium.

Water plays a vital role in regulating the temperature of any substance.

Specific heat units

The SI unit of specific heat is joule per kelvin and kilogram, J/ (K kg).

It can also be cal/gºC

How to Convert Molar Heat Capacity To Specific Heat

To convert to molar heat capacity you can make use of the molar heat capacity formula: Multiply the specific heat by the molar mass of methane.

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That gives credibility to your paper and it is sometimes required in higher education.

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Now replace dd, mmmm and yyyy with the day, month, and year you browsed this page. Also replace URL for the actual url of this page. This citation format is based on MLA.


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