What is an example of a high specific heat?


Quick Answer

An example of a high specific heat is water’s specific heat, which requires 4.184 joules of heat to increase the temperature of 1 gram of water 1 degree Celsius. Scientifically, water’s specific heat is written as: 1 calorie/gm °C = 4.186 J/gm °C.

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Full Answer

A specific heat is the amount of heat or energy required to raise the temperature of a substance by 1 degree Celsius. According to Georgia State University, water has the highest specific heat of any common substance. For instance, if water and copper were both heated by 1 degree Celsius, it would require more heat to increase the water’s temperature than to heat the copper. Water and other substances with a high specific heat absorb a great deal of heat before they get hot.

Water’s high specific heat makes it an effective coolant for the body, since it requires a lot of heat before the body’s temperature increases. For this same reason, water is used as a coolant in a car radiator. Additionally, water’s specific heat also makes it a stable living environment for organisms living in the world's oceans that depend on a stable water temperature for survival. As the seasons change, water's temperature does not drop or increase suddenly, but instead changes gradually. This allows all organisms, including humans, to move or adjust.

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