Specific Heat Capacity

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

In these lessons, we will

  • Describe what is meant by specific heat capacity.
  • Calculate the amount of energy stored in or released from a system as its temperature change.

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Specific Heat Capacity Experiment
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Lessons for IGCSE Physics

Specific Heat Capacity

The following diagram gives the formula for specific heat capacity. Scroll down the page for more examples and solutions on how to use the formula.

Specific Heat Capacity Formula

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.

Change of Energy = m × c × change in temperature

Calculate Specific Heat Capacity - IGCSE Physics

A 250g copper pipe is heated from 10°C to 31°C. What is the energy needed to heat the pipe? The specific heat capacity of copper is 390 J/kg-1°C-1.

Finding Specific Heat Capacity - IGCSE Physics

A 250g block of Aluminium is heated in a water bath to 100°C. After being placed in 300g of 21.0°C water, the temperature of the water rises to 331°C. Find the specific heat capacity of Aluminium.


  1. Calculate the energy required to increase the temperature of 2kg of water from 20°C to 100°C. The specific heat capacity of water is 4200 J/kg °C.

  2. An iron has an aluminium plate with a mass of 1.5kg. Calculate the thermal energy stored in the plate when the temperature rises from 20°C to 200°C. The specific heat capacity of aluminium is 913 J/kg° C.

  3. A hot water bottle cools down from 80°C to 20°C, releasing 756000J of thermal energy. Calculate the mass of the water in the hot water bottle. The specific heat capacity of water is 4200 J/kg°C.

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