Specific Heat

Absolute temperature and energy of a system are proportional to each other. The proportionality constant is the specific heat.

The specific heat of a material is the amount of heat required to raise 1 kg of the material by 1C. The symbol for specific heat is c.

The specific heat measures how much energy is stored in a heated object.

The heat lost or gained by an object when its temperature changes by ΔT is:   Q = mcΔT

Question: Why should we care about the specific heat?

Answer: Measuring the specific heat reveals the microscopic energy levels of a system. This measurement is and effective a microscope into the atomic nature of the system.