specific heat

Specific heat, also known as specific heat capacity, is the quantity of heat (i.e., the amount of thermal energy) needed to raise the temperature of a unit mass of a substance through a unit degree interval. In the SI system, specific heat is measured in joules/kilogram/kelvin (J kg1 K1).


The specific heat of water is 4186 J kg1 K1. The high specific heat of water is one of the factors that makes it such an effective solvent in biological systems.


The concept of specific heat was introduced by Joseph Black. See also heat capacity.