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Specific Heat Capacity

The specific heat capacity of a substance is the amount of energy needed to change the temperature of 1 kg of the substance by 1°C. Different substances have different specific heat capacities. The table shows some examples.

Heat capacities of different substances

Substance Specific heat capacity in J / kg °C water 4181 oxygen 918 lead 128

specific heat capacity is measured in joules.

The equation for specific heat capacity is Specific Heat Capacity Formula ( 

 Energy Transfrred by specific heat capacity is:

  Energy Transfrred= mass x SPC x temp change

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Temperature and heat (not the same thing)

Temperature and heat are not the same thing:

  • temperature is a measure of how hot something is
  • heat is a measure of the thermal energy contained in an object.

Temperature is measured in °C, and heat is measured in J. When heat energy is transferred to an object, its temperature increase depends upon the:

  • the mass of the object
  • the substance the object is made from
  • the amount energy transferred to the object.

For a particular object, the more heat energy transferred to it, the greater its temperature increase.

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Uses colour to show temperature; hottest areas are white and yellow, coldest are black, dark blue and purple.


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