**Related Pages**

Specific Heat Capacity

Energy Transfers

Mechanical, Potential and Kinetic Energy

Elastic Potential Energy

Lessons for IGCSE Physics

A series of free GCSE/IGCSE Physics Notes and Lessons.

In these lessons, we will learn to describe a practical that can be used to determine the specific heat capacity of a material.

The specific heat capacity of a substance is the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of 1 kg of the substance by 1°C.

**Steps to determine the specific heat capacity.**

- Place a beaker on a balance and press zero.
- Now add the oil to the beaker and record the mass of the oil.
- Read the starting temperature of the oil.
- Connect a joulemeter to the immersion heater.
- Time for thirty minutes.
- Read the number of joules of energy that passed into the immersion heater.
- Read the final temperature of the oil.
- Use the following formula to calculate the specific heat capacity.

**Results and Calculations**

0.95 kg of oil was heated from 20°C to 75 °C. 87258J of electrical energy passed into the immersion heater. Calculate the specific heat capacity of the oil.

**Sources of inaccuracies**

- Thermal energy passing out of the beaker into the air - Use an insulator with a lower thermal conductivity.
- Not all thermal energy passing into the oil - Ensure that immersion heater is fully submerged.
- Incorrect reading of thermometer - Use an electronic temperature probe.
- Thermal energy not being spread through the oil - Stir the oil.

**Experiment to show how to find the specific heat capacity of a metal**

**Specific Heat Capacity - GCSE Science Required Practical**

Investigating the specific heat capacity of different metals.

In this practical you will:

- heat up blocks of different metals using an electric heater
- measure the mass and temperature of the block
- calculate the work done by the heater
- plot a graph of temperature change against work done and use the gradient to calculate the specific heat capacity of the metal

Method

- Measure and record the mass of the copper block in kg.
- Wrap the insulation around the block.
- Place the heater in the larger hole in the block.
- Connect the ammeter, power pack and heater in series.
- Connect the voltmeter across the heater.
- Use the pipette to put a small amount of water in the other hole.
- Put the thermometer in this hole.
- Set the power pack to 12 V. Switch on the power pack to turn on the heater.
- Record the ammeter and voltmeter readings. These shouldn’t change during the experiment.
- Measure the temperature and start the stopclock.
- Record the temperature every minute for 10 minutes.

Record your results in the table below. - Calculate the power of the heater in watts.

Power in watts = potential difference in volts x current in amps - Calculate the energy transferred (work done) by the heater. To do this, multiply the time in seconds by the power of the heater. Record these values in your table.

**Specific Heat Capacity - GCSE Science Required Practical**

How to measure the SHC of a material using the graph method?

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