If you’ve ever before walked follow me a beach on a clear day and dipped her toes in the water come cool them turn off after the warm sand, you’ve taken benefit of the particular heat that water.

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Despite exactly how it might sound, specific heat doesn’t refer to the specific temperature the something. That a bigger scientific ide that has to do v the power it take away to heat a problem up. Together you could have noticed from the example, not every substances warmth up at the same rate—hence the different temperatures the the sand and water.

Water’s details heat is just one of its most amazing characteristics. In this article, fine be extending what details heat is, what equation you usage to find details heat, and why water’s certain heat is for this reason high.


The stove, pot, water, and steam all have different particular heats.

What Is specific Heat?

Specific heat is a measure of warm capacity, or just how much warmth a material deserve to store when transforming temperature. A high warmth capacity way that a substance have the right to absorb a many heat before registering a readjust in temperature—think about how lengthy it takes because that a pot to get warm to the touch top top the oven versus exactly how long it takes the water within to acquire warm. That method that water has actually a higher heat capacity—it have the right to store much more heat before transforming in temperature.

Specific warmth refers come the specific amount of warmth needed to do one unit of massive of a problem one level warmer. return to ours example, certain heat would identify exactly how much warm is required to do one unit of water, such together one cup, one level warmer.

Because warm is really a measure up of power transfer, it’s an ext accurate come say the specific warm is in reality a declare of exactly how much power a substance have the right to absorb prior to a one-degree change in temperature.

Specific heat is generally measured in Joules and also kilojoules per one gram of mass, through Celsius together a measure up of temperature. Kilograms and Fahrenheit may be used, but it’s rarer.

A substance’s specific heat can be impacted by temperature and pressure, so particular heat is frequently determined at constant temperature and also pressure, generally 25 degrees Celsius.


What Is the Equation for specific Heat?

The equation come calculate details heat is:

$$Q = s × m × ΔT$$

$Q$ to represent the quantity of heat, $s$ the details heat ($Joules/gram * °Celsius$), m the fixed of the substance in grams, and $ΔT$ the observed adjust in temperature.


Different type of water, such as seawater, may have actually different certain heat.

What Is the certain Heat the Water?

Some substances warmth up quickly, while other substances warm up slowly. Water is among the latter—it has a high specific heat capacity since it requires much more energy come raise the temperature.

Water has actually a details heat volume of 4182 J/kg°C. because water is such an important and usual substance, we even have a special way to recognize the amount of power it takes to raise one gram of water through one level Celsius—a Calorie. This is various from the sort of calorie us talk around in food. That kind of calorie is indistinguishable to 1,000 Calories, which is why food-related calories are likewise sometimes referred to as kilocalories, or kcals.

The certain heat that water is rather a bit greater than countless other common substances. because that example, the details heat of iron is 449 J/kg°C, sand is 830 J/kg°C, and oak wood is 2400 J/kg°C.

That’s since water, made up of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom, is electronegative. An electronegative atom is an ext likely to draw electrons to itself, due to the fact that one side of the atom will have actually a partially optimistic charge and also the other will have actually a partially an unfavorable charge. The opposite-charged sides space naturally drawn to one another, forming a weaker hydrogen bond. That’s why water is maybe to flow past itself, but also bond together—it’s continuous forming and also breaking these bonds.

These bonds are likewise why liquid water has actually a high specific heat. Any energy placed toward heater water is split in between breaking the bonds and also heating the water. Due to the fact that of this, it takes much more energy to warmth water than it does various other substances.

For example, if you’re in ~ the coast on a sunny day, you’ll notice that the sand is frequently quite warm to walk on, yet the water constantly feels cool, also in the shallows. That’s because sand has actually a lower particular heat capacity—it take away less power to advanced the temperature by one degree. because water has a high warm capacity, it requires an ext energy come raise the temperature by one degree. The sun puts out a much more or less consistent rate that energy, i beg your pardon heats increase sand an ext quickly and also water much more slowly.


Sand has actually a much lower specific heat 보다 water—that"s why the gets hot so fast!

Specific heat Table

If she not already familiar with Joules and also Calories, these numbers could seem a little abstract. Take it a look in ~ this table to familiarize yourself with some common certain heats according to both Joules and also Calories, and compare those to what you understand of exactly how these substances warmth up!

MaterialSpecific warm in J/kg°CSpecific heat in Cal/gram°C
Olive oil17900.43
Table Salt8800.21
Quartz Sand8300.19
Liquid Water41821.00
Wood1300 - 24000.41

What’s Next?

Ready for an ext water-related science knowledge? learn all around water-absorbing compounds (appropriately named hydrates) and also the thickness of water.

If the specific heat that water has actually you all fired up about chemistry, AP chemistry might be for you! Check the end this AP chemistry syllabus come learn more about what topics will certainly be covered.

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Or probably you"re already in AP chemistry and you"re in search of some tips and tricks for exactly how to ace her exam. Check the end this guide to the AP chemistry test for whatever you need to know!

If you"re not rather ready because that the exam however you require a little extra an increase in your AP chemistry course, this AP Chemistry study overview may be simply what you"re feather for.