# What does the specific heat for a substance indicate?

Feb 19, 2017

Specific heat gives the amount of heat energy required to raise the temperature of a specific amount of the substance by one degree Celsius.

#### Explanation:

Specific heat (symbol $c$) is used in a formula such as the following

$Q = m \times c \times \Delta t$

that will enable one to determine the amount of heat (Q) required to raise any mass ($m$, in grams) by temperature change $\Delta t$.

It is generally stated in units of joules per gram per degree Celsius (although calories per gram per degree Celsius is still used in some cases).

The greater the value of specific heat, the better the ability of a substance to contain a large amount of heat energy without having to undergo a large increase in temperature.

Water, at 4.18 J/(g °C) has a high heat capacity, which is a main factor in the manner in which the Earth's lakes and oceans affect climate.