How can specific heat be used to identify substances?
Imagine an unknown metal of known mass is heated to a known temperature. The heated metal can then be placed into a sample of water for which the volume (and therefore mass since 1mL=1g) and temperature are known.
The amount of energy (Q) transferred to the water can be calculated by using the equation
This allows for a calculation of the C value for the metal since the head gained (Qw) of the water will equal the heat lost by the metal (Qm).
The C value for the metal allows the metal to be identified.
A listing of C values for metals can be found here: