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**Specific Heat Capacity**

Or the amount of energy needed to heat substances up

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Specific Heat Capacity can be thought of as a measure of how much heat energy is needed to warm the substance up. You will possibly have noticed that it is easier to warm up a saucepan full of oil than it is to warm up one full of water.

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Specific Heat Capacity (C) of a substance is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of 1g of the substance by 1oC (or by 1 K). The units of specific heat capacity are J oC-1 g-1 or J K-1 g-1. Sometimes the mass is expressed in kg so the units could also be J oC-1 g-1 or J K-1 kg-1

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**The next table shows how much energy it takes to heat up some different substances.**

The small values show that not a lot of energy is needed to produce a temperature change, whereas the large values indicate a lot more energy is needed.

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**Approximate values in J / kg °K of the Specific Heat Capacities of some substances are:**

Air Lead Aluminium Mercury Asbestos Nylon Brass Paraffin Brick Platinum 135 Concrete Polythene 2200 Cork Polystyrene 1300 Glass Rubber Gold Silver Ice Steel Iron Water

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**The equation: q = m x C x ΔT**

The amount of heat energy (q) gained or lost by a substance = mass of substance (m) X specific heat capacity (C) X change in temperature (ΔT)
q = m x C x ΔT

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**An example of a calculation using the specific heat capacity equation:**

How much energy would be needed to heat 450 grams of copper metal from a temperature of 25.0ºC to a temperature of 75.0ºC? (The specific heat of copper at 25.0ºC is J/g ºC.)

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Explanation: The change in temperature (ΔT) is: 75ºC - 25ºC = 50ºC Given mass, two temperatures, and a specific heat capacity, you have enough values to plug into the specific heat equation q = m x C x ΔT . and plugging in your values you get q = (450 g) x (0.385 J/g ºC) x (50.0ºC) = 8700 J

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