Specific Heats of Common Materials:
Specific heat is the amount of heat energy (in Joules) needed to change the temperature of 1 gram of a substance by 1°C. Add energy and the temperature increases. Lose energy and it decreases.
The most important
thing to remember about specific heat is this:
|WATER HAS THE
HIGHEST SPECIFIC HEAT OF ANY COMMON MATERIAL therefore water heats
very slowly and cools very slowly!
Which substance heats and cools fastest? Lead, of course.
If equal amounts of heat energy are added to equal masses of different materials which one gets hottest? The one with the smallest specific heat!
|When the sun shines on land and water equally the land gets hotter faster while the water remains cool. At night the land cools rapidly while the water temperature changes hardly at all. This has a major effect on coastal communities. Their winters are warmer and summers are cooler than inland communities. Water 'eliminates extremes of temperature' because of it's high specific heat!|
Back to ESRT Index Back to Properties of Water