Specific Heat

Contributor: Lindsey Congalosi. Lesson ID: 13117

Why does gold belong in your cell phone and water in your walls? Specific heat capacity! Read on to learn more.


Physical Science, Physics

learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Beaver, Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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It's a hot summer day. You took a trip to the beach but lost your shoes.

sandals on the beach

When it's time to return to the car, you have two choices: the black asphalt parking lot or the strip of fresh grass next to it. Your feet are already sensitive from the hot sand.

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  • But why?

Different materials need different amounts of energy to heat up.

That means that when different materials are heated with the same amount of energy, their temperatures will change at different rates.

different temperatures

Let's look at another example. It's time to boil some pasta. You fill the pot with cold water and place it over the burner.

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The amount of energy needed to heat up a certain material is referred to as the material's specific heat capacity, also referred to as specific heat or heat capacity.

To be exact, an object's specific heat is the amount of energy (in the form of heat) needed to increase the temperature of 1 kilogram of that material by 1 degree Celsius.

To understand exactly what is meant by an object's specific heat, watch Specific Heat Capacity | Matter | Physics | FuseSchool from FuseSchool - Global Education:

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Move on to the Got It? section to look more closely at some specific specific heats.

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