You are on page 1of 6

Heat Capacity

1. Heat capacity is the measure of the ability of an object to store heat as its temperature
changes.
2. It is the measure of the amount of heat required to change the temperature of an object by
1C.

3. The SI unit of heat capacity is joules per Kelvin (J/K).


4. The heat capacity of an object depends on the type of the material the object is made and
also the mass of the object. An object with larger mass has higher heat capacity.
5. An object with higher heat capacity need more heat supplied to change 1 unit of the
temperature.

Specific Heat Capacity

Specific heat capacity is defined as the amount of heat required to change the temperature of 1
kg of a substance by 1C.

1. Specific heat capacity is a physical quantity used to compare the heat capacity of a given
material of the same mass.
2. It is the measure of how much energy can be store in 1 kg of mass of a substance.
3. Specific heat capacity is defined as the amount of heat required to change the temperature
of 1 kg of a substance by 1C.
Mathematically,

c=Q/m
3. [Q = heat, c = specific heat capacity, m = mass, = change of temperature]
4. The SI unit of specific heat capacity is J/kg/C.
5. For example, the specific heat capacity of water is 4200 J/kg/C means 4200J of heat
energy is needed to change the temperature of 1kg water by 1C.
6. The amount of heat transferred in an object when temperature change can be calculated
by using the following equation.
Thermal Energy Gain and Loss
When 2 objects/substances are in thermal contact, there will be a net flow of thermal energy from the
object/substance with higher temperature to the object/substance with lower temperature. If we assume
there is no thermal energy loss to the surrounding

Thermal energy loss = Thermal energy gain


m1c11=m2c22
Conversion of Energy
Conversion of Gravitational Energy to Thermal Energy

mgh=mc

Conversion of Kinetic Energy to Thermal Energy

1/2 2 =mc

Conversion of Electrical Energy to Thermal Energy


Electrical energy, E = Pt
If we assume that all the electrical energy convert into thermal energy, then

Pt=mc
Applications of Specific Heat Capacity
Cooking Pot

1. Different part of a cooking pot are made up of different material.


2. The base of a cooking pot is usually made up of copper because
a. copper has low specific heat capacity so that it need less heat to raise up the temperature.
b. copper is a good heat conductor.
c. copper has high density. The heavier base can make the pot become more stable.
3. The handles of cooking pot is usually made up of plastic or wood because
a. plastic and wood have high specific heat capacity. Their temperature wont become too
high even it absorbs large amount of heat.
b. plastic and wood are good heat insulator.
c. plastic and wood have low density hence they do not add much to the total weight of the
pot.
4. The body of the cooking pot is usually made up of stainless steel because
a. steel has low specific heat capacity and hence need need less heat to raise up the
temperature.
b. steel does not react chemically with the food.

Car Engine
1. Water is used to cool down the car engine.
2. Water is used as the cooling agent in the car cooling system because
a. it has high specific heat capacity. It can absorb a large amount of heat without a high
increase in temperature.
b. it is cheap and can be obtained easily.
3. Water is pumped through the channels in the engine block to absorb heat.
4. The hot water flows to the radiator and is cooled by the air flows through the fins of the radiator.
5. The cool water flows back to the engine again to capture more heat and this cycle is repeated
continuously.

Factories with Low Ceiling

1. Some factories without large machinery are constructed with low ceilings to reduce the volume of
air inside the building.
2. The smaller mass of air will have a smaller heat capacity.
3. As a result, less heat needs to be removed to reduce the temperature of the air.
4. This will then reduce the air conditioning costs for the factory.

Thermal Radiator

1. Thermal radiators are always used in cold country to warm the house.
2. Hot water is made to flow through a radiator. The heat given out from the radiator is then warm
the air of the house.
3. The cold water is then flows back to the water tank. This process is repeated continuously.
4. Water is used in the radiator because it has high specific heat capacity.
Phenomena Related to Specific Heat Capacity
Sea Breeze

1. Land has lower heat capacity than sea water. Therefore, in day time, the temperature of the land
increases faster than the sea.
2. Hot air (lower density) above the land rises. Cooler air from the sea flows towards land and hence
produces sea breeze.

Land Breeze

1. Land has lower heat capacity than sea water. During night time, the temperature of the land drops
faster than the sea.
2. Hot air (lower density) above the sea rises. Cooler air from the land blows towards sea and hence
produces land breeze.
Phenomena Related to Specific Heat Capacity - Moderate Climate

1. Places with the presence of lakes, sea and ocean may have more moderate climate.
2. This is because, water has large specific heat capacity.
3. During daytime when it is hot, the water from the lake/sea absorbs heat from the surroundings.
This helps to reduce the temperature of the surroundings.
4. During night-time, the water releases the heat absorbed during daytime, and hence prevents the
temperature from dropping too much.
5. As such, palcess near a large mass of water will have a smaller range of temperatures and hence a
more moderate climate condition.