Specific Heat

Specific heat capacity, often shortened to specific heat, is the measure of the heat energy required to increase the temperature of a unit quantity of a substance by a certain temperature interval. The term originated primarily through the work of 18th-century physicist Joseph Black who conducted various heat measurements and used the phrase "capacity for heat". More heat energy is required to increase the temperature of a substance with high specific heat capacity than one with low specific heat capacity. For instance, eight times the heat energy is required to increase the temperature of an ingot of magnesium as is required for a lead ingot of the same mass. The specific heat of virtually any substance can be measured, including chemical elements, compounds, alloys, solutions, and composites.

The symbols for specific heat capacity are either C or c depending on how the quantity of a substance is measured. For example, the heat energy required to raise water’s temperature one kelvin (equal to 1 degree Celsius) is 4186 joules per kilogram—the kilogram being the specified quantity. Scientifically, this measure would be expressed as c = 4186 J/(kg·K) and was originally determined by mechanical means.

For more, visit the Wikipedia entry for aqueous solution, URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Specific_heat_capacity