heat capacity


heat capacity
Thermodynam.
the heat required to raise the temperature of a substance one degree. Cf. specific heat.
[1900-05]

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Ratio of heat absorbed by a material to the change in temperature.

It is usually expressed as calories per degree in terms of the amount of the material being considered. Heat capacity and its temperature variation depend on differences in energy levels for atoms. Heat capacities are measured with a calorimeter and are important as a means of determining the entropies of materials. See also specific heat.

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      ratio of heat absorbed by a material to the temperature change. It is usually expressed as calories per degree in terms of the actual amount of material being considered, most commonly a mole (the molecular weight in grams). The heat capacity in calories (calorie) per gram is called specific heat. The definition of the calorie is based on the specific heat of water, defined as one calorie per degree Celsius.

      At sufficiently high temperatures, the heat capacity per atom tends to be the same for all elements. For metals of higher atomic weight, this approximation is already a good one at room temperature, giving rise to the law of Dulong and Petit (see Dulong-Petit law (Dulong–Petit law)). For other materials, heat capacity and its temperature variation depend on differences in energy levels for atoms (available quantum states). Heat capacities are measured with some variety of calorimeter, and, using the formulation of the third law of thermodynamics, heat-capacity measurements became important as a means of determining the entropies (entropy) of various materials.

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Universalium. 2010.

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