What are the applications of specific heat in our daily life?

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Jul 28, 2017


  1. Substances
  2. Sensitive thermometers
  3. Heat storage instruments


Specific heat or specific heat capacity, #s#, is heat capacity/mass, or

#q = m xx s xx (T_2 - T_1)#

Specific heat gives the amount of heat energy required for heating a substance of unit mass by #1 "°C"#. So the higher the specific heat, the more energy required for heating the substance.

1) Utensils used for making tea or coffee, or cooking vegetables or rice are made of materials of low specific heat. They are polished at the bottom. So they get heated quicker. For example, copper, aluminum etc.

2) Materials that have high specific heat can be used as insulators. For example, wood has a high specific heat. Wooden houses will keep the inside cooler during summer. Builders can choose building materials appropriately depending on the location and altitude. That allows building warmer houses or cooler houses.

3) The handles of utensils at home are made of materials which have very high specific heat. They act as thermal insulators. The insulating capability or conductivity is also dependent on specific heat.

4) An instrument like a thermometer, the body may be made of higher specific heat and the tip is made of a material of low specific heat.

5) The water in swimming pool remains cool even in summer and people enjoy a lot staying inside the pool. The reason is the high specific heat of water.

6) Steam has a low specific heat capacity (0.47 calorie per gram per °C) than water(1 cal per gram per °C) and heats much more than water for the same time of heating.That's why steam is used to carry a lot of heat energy at high pressures to run rail engines or rotors in AC generators. That's also why steam causes more severe burns than boiling water.

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