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Specific heat is the amount of energy required to raise one gram of a pure substance by one degree Centigrade. The specific heat of a substance is dependent on both its molecular structure and its phase. The discovery of specific heat sparked the studies of thermodynamics, the study of energy conversion involving heat and the work of a system. Specific heat and thermodynamics are used extensively in chemistry, nuclear engineering, and aerodynamics, as well as in everyday life in the radiator and cooling system of a car. If you want to know how to calculate specific heat, just follow these steps.
Steps
Calculation Help
Part 1
Part 1 of 2:Learn the Fundamentals

1Become familiar with the terms that are used for calculating specific heat. It's important to be familiar with the terms that are used for calculating specific heat before you learn the formula for specific heat. You'll need to know how to recognize the symbol for each term and to understand what it means. Here are the terms that are commonly used in the equation for calculating the specific heat of a substance:^{[1] X Research source }
 Delta, or the "Δ" symbol, represents the change in a variable.
 For example, if your first temperature (T1) is 150ºC, and your second temperature (T2) is 20ºC, then ΔT, or the change in temperature, represents 150ºC  20ºC, or 130ºC.
 The mass of the sample is represented by "m".
 The amount of heat is represented by "Q". The amount of heat is represented by "J", or Joules.
 "T" is the temperature of the substance.
 Specific heat is represented by "C_{p}".
 Delta, or the "Δ" symbol, represents the change in a variable.

2Learn the equation for specific heat. Once you become familiar with the terms used for calculating specific heat, you should learn the equation for finding the specific heat of a substance. The formula is: C_{p} = Q/mΔT.
 You can manipulate this formula if you want to find the change in the amount of heat instead of the specific heat. Here's what it would look like:^{[2]
X
Research source
}
 ΔQ = mC_{p}ΔT
Advertisement  You can manipulate this formula if you want to find the change in the amount of heat instead of the specific heat. Here's what it would look like:^{[2]
X
Research source
}
Part 2
Part 2 of 2:Calculate Specific Heat

1Study the equation. First, you should look at the equation to get a sense of what you need to do to find the specific heat. Let's look at this problem: Find the specific heat of 350 g of an unknown material when 34,700 Joules of heat are applied, and the temperature rises from 22ºC to 173ºC with no phase change.

2List the known and unknown factors. Once you're comfortable with the problem, you can write down each known and unknown variable to have a better sense of what you're working with. Here's how you do it:
 m = 350 g
 Q = 34,700 Joules
 ΔT = 173ºC  22ºC = 151ºC
 C_{p} = unknown

3Plug the known factors into the equation. You know the value of everything except "C_{p}c", so you should plug the rest of the factors into the original equation and solve for "C_{p}", Here's how you do it:
 Original equation: C_{p} = Q/mΔT
 c = 34,700 J/(350 g x 151ºC)

4Solve the equation. Now that you've plugged the known factors into the equation, just do simple arithmetic to solve it. The specific heat, or final answer, is 0.65657521286 J/(g x ºC).
 C_{p} = 34,700 J/(350 g x 151ºC)
 C_{p} = 34,700 J/(52850 g x ºC)
 C_{p} = 0.65657521286 J/(g x ºC)
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Community Q&A

QuestionHow do I calculate specific heat when no temperature is given?Community AnswerThat's not possible. Q=mass × specific heat capacity x temperature is the formula, temperature cannot be removed from the equation.

QuestionHow do I find the heat of a spice?Community AnswerLook your spice up on the Scoville scale  it measures the pungency of spicy foods. A bell pepper is 0 on the scale. A mild jalapeno is about 3000, and a hot one is ~10000. Tabasco is around 30000, and a habanero can reach 350000.

QuestionIf 200 grams of water is to be heated from 24.0 degrees to 100.0 degrees to make a cup of tea, how much heat must be added?Community AnswerQ = C x m x dT Q = 4.18 x 0.2 x (100  24) Q = 73.112 J/g.C

QuestionHow do I calculate specific heat?Community AnswerQ = m*s*dT, where Q = heat, m = mass, s = specific heat, and dT is the change in temperature (T2  T1). You can use this formula to calculate the specific heat. In the case of gases, just replace the mass by moles of the gas.

QuestionHow do I calculate specific heat when the heat is not given?Community AnswerYou will have to use clues to find out if the heat is given. If not, it cannot be solved.

QuestionHow can I theoretically calculate a specific heat without knowing the final temperature?Community AnswerThe formula is: heat supplied= heat capacity/rise in temperature. Thus, heat capacity is = mass of the object or sample.

QuestionHow do I calculate specific heat if standard air is used and Q is given but there is no value for M?Community AnswerIf by standard air, you mean air at sealevel atmospheric pressure, 68ºF temperature, and roughly 68% relative humidity you have two options: If the volume is known, use the density to calculate the mass. If volume and mass are both unknown, double check if instead of Q the value was q which might be heat/lbm. Otherwise, you would need to consult a table for specific heat.
Video
Tips
 A calorimeter may sometimes be used with a heat transfer during a physical or chemical change.Thanks!
 Learn the formula for calculating the specific heat of foods. C_{p} = 4.180 x w + 1.711 x p + 1.928 x f + 1.547 x c + 0.908 x a is the equation used for finding the specific heat of foods where "w" is the percentage of the food that is water, "p" is the percentage of the food that is protein, "f" is the percentage of the food that is fat, "c" is the percentage of the food that is carbohydrate, and "a" is the percentage of the food that is ash. This equation takes into account the mass fraction (x) of all the solids that make up the food. The specific heat calculation is expressed in kJ/(kgK).Thanks!
 Temperature changes are greater in materials with low specific heat when all other things are equal.Thanks!
 Metal heats up faster than water because of its low specific heat.Thanks!
 When solving for specific heat, cross out units when possible.Thanks!
 The specific heat for many objects may be found online to check your work.Thanks!
 The SI (Systeme International) units for specific heat are Joules per degree Centigrade per gram.^{[3] X Research source } But calories per degree Fahrenheit per pound mass are still used for calculations in the Imperial system if units.Thanks!
References
 ↑ http://www.softschools.com/formulas/physics/specific_heat_formula/61/
 ↑ https://courses.lumenlearning.com/cheminter/chapter/specificheatcalculations/
 ↑ http://www.iun.edu/~cpanhd/C101webnotes/matterandenergy/specificheat.html
 http://www.merriamwebster.com/dictionary/specific%2Bheat
 http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/K12/airplane/specheat.html
 http://www.chemteam.info/Thermochem/DetermineSpecificHeat.html
About This Article
To calculate specific heat, start by reading the problem carefully, then write down each known and unknown variable to get a better sense of what you're working with. Next, plug the known factors into the specific heat equation, then solve the equation as you normally would to get your answer! To learn more about the fundamentals of specific heat, read on!