Specific Heat Calculator

Enter the total amount of energy applied to the object, the change in temperature of that object, and mass of the object to calculate the specific heat.

What is specific heat?

Specific heat is a measure of the amount of heat or energy needed to raise the temperature of a material or object by 1 degree Celsius. Commonly referred to as a materials ability to hold heat. For example, water has the highest specific heat of any common substance. That’s why it’s a key component in temperature regulation. It can hold a substantial amount of energy without changing temperature drastically.

Specific Heat Formula

Specific heat is governed by the follow thermodynamic equation for heat capacity:

Q = c*m*change in T

where Q is the total energy

m is the mass

c is the specific heat

T is temperature

This can be simplified to solve for specific heat as follows:

c= Q/ m*change in T

How to calculate specific heat

You could just simply use the calculator above, but it’s almost always better to understand a calculation so you can tweak the result.

First you need to determine the total amount of energy being put into the system. Sometimes this can be measure directly, other times it needs to be calculated.

Second, you need to measure the mass of the object you are testing/calculating.

Third you need to measure the change in temperature of the object. When you get into ambient lost heat, these equations of systems get much more complicated, but for a simple experiment just measure the temperature of the object is enough.

Finally add in all of the values you measured above, and use the formula or calculator to determine your specific heat.

As mentioned previously, measuring these values and determining the specific heat through some experiment is likely to yield not so exact results. Heat exchange is a complicated subject and involves many more variables than those above in real world systems.

For more science and engineering related calculators, click here.

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