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Thermodynamics: Specific Heat

Specific Heat

The specific heat represents the amount of energy required to raise a substance by one degree. There are two specific heat constants that can be found in tables for different substance. They are the specific heat at constant volume (cv) and the specific heat at constant pressure (cp). The specific heat at constant volume is the amount of energy required to raise a substance by one degree while it remains at a constant volume, while the specific heat at constant pressure is the amount of energy required to raise the substance by one degree while it remains at a constant pressure. The value for cp is always greater than the value for cv. Refer to the tables below to see the specific heat for some substance when they are considered an ideal gas.


Specific Heat of Ideal Gases at 300 K

Gas
cp
(kJ/kg)*K
cv
(kJ/kg)*K
k
Air
1.005
0.718
1.400
Carbon Dioxide
0.846
0.657
1.289
Helium
5.1926
3.1156
1.667
Hydrogen
14.307
10.183
1.405
Nitrogen
1.039
0.743
1.400
Oxygen
0.918
0.658
1.395

In some cases you may hear someone talking about specific heat ratios (k). The specific heat ratio is a ratio of cp and cv. Refer to the equation below.

Specific Heat Ratio (1)

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