Specific Heat Capacity
(C or S ) 
The quantity of heat required to raise the temperature of a
substance by one degree Celsius is called the specific heat capacity of
the substance. The quantity of heat is frequently measured in
units of Joules(J). Another property, the specific heat, is the
heat capacity of the substance per gram of the substance. The
specific heat of water is 4.18 J/g° C.
Substance 
C
(J/g ^{o}C) 
Air

1.01 
Aluminum 
0.902 
Copper 
0.385 
Gold 
0.129 
Iron 
0.450 
Mercury 
0.140 
NaCl 
0.864 
Ice 
2.03 
Water 
4.18 


q = m x C x DT
q
= m x C x (T_{f}  T_{i})
q
= amount of heat energy gained or lost by substance
m
= mass of sample
C
= heat capacity (J ^{o}C^{1} g^{1} or
J K^{1} g^{1})
T_{f} = final temperature
T_{i} = initial temperature
Specific Heat Instructional Videos
More High
School Examples
Highlight Answer Box to reveal answers
Sample Questions 
Answers 
1. Calculate the
amount of heat needed to increase the temperature of 250g
of water from 20^{o}C to 46^{o}C. 
q = m x C x DT
q = 250g x 4.18J/g^{o}C
x 26^{o}C
q = 37,620J or 38kJ 
2.
Calculate the specific heat capacity of copper given that
204.75 J of energy raises the temperature of 15g of copper
from 25^{o} to 60^{o}. 
q = m x C x DT
C= q/m x DT
C = 204.75J /(15g x 35^{o}C
)
C= 0.39 J/g^{o}C 
3.
216 J of energy is required to raise the temperature of
aluminum from 15^{o} to 35^{o}C.
Calculate the mass of aluminum.
(Specific Heat Capacity of aluminum is 0.90 J^{o}C^{1}g^{1}). 
q = m x C x DT
m= q/C x DT
m= 216J/(0.90J/g^{o}C
x 20^{o}C )
m= 12g 
4.
The initial temperature of 150g of ethanol was 22^{o}C.
What will be the final temperature of the ethanol if 3240
J was needed to raise the temperature of the ethanol?
(Specific heat capacity of ethanol is 2.44 J^{o}C^{1}g^{1}). 
q = m x C x DT
DT
= q/m x C
DT
= 3240J/(150g x 2.44J/g^{o}C)
DT
= 8.85^{o}C
T_{final}= 22^{o}C
+8.85^{o}C=
30.9^{o}C 
Even More Practice Questions
Question 
Highlight
to reveal answers 
1.
The temperature of a piece of Metal X with a mass of 95.4g increases
from 25.0°C to 48.0°C as the metal absorbs 849 J of heat. What is
the specific heat of Metal X? 
Answer:
849 J /(95.4g x 23.0°C)
0.387
J/g°C

2.
When 435 J of heat is added to 3.4 g of olive oil at 21°C, the
temperature increases to 85°C. What is the specific heat of the olive
oil? 
Answer:
435 J/(3.4g x 64°C)
2.0
J/g°C 
3.
A piece of stainless steel with a mass of 1.55 g absorbs 141 J of heat
when its temperature increases by 178°C. What is the specific heat of
the stainless steel? 
Answer:
141 J/(1.55
g x 178°C)
0.511
J/g°C 
4.
How much heat is required to raise the temperature of 250.0 g of
mercury by 52°C? 
Answer:
250.0 g x 0.140 J/g°C x
52°C
1800
J 
6.
How many kilojoules of heat are absorbed when 1.00 L of water is
heated from 18°C to 85°C? (Hint:
You first need to determine the mass of the water, then calculate q in
the requested unit.) 
Answer:
1.00kg x 4.18 J/g°C x 67°C
280
kJ 
7.
A piece of aluminum with a mass of 100.0 g has a temperature of 20.0°C.
It absorbs 1100 J of heat energy. What is the final temperature of the
metal? 
Answer:1100
J/(100.0 g x 0.902J/g°C)=120.°C
+ 20°C= 140.0°C 
8.
An unknown metal has a mass of 18.0 g. If the temperature of the metal
sample rises from 15.0°C to 40.0°C as the sample absorbs 89.0 J of
heat, what is the specific heat of the sample? Now look at your
periodic table and choose a metal that is most likely the identity of
the sample. 
Answer:
89.0 J/(18.0 g x 25.0°C)
specific
heat = 0.371 J/g°C 
