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# How do the specific heat of metal compare to that of water?

Last updated date: 22nd Jun 2024
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Hint: Specific heat of anything is defined as the amount of heat energy required to raise the temperature of its unit mass by one degree. Specific heat increases the temperature of the body unlike latent heat which changes the phase rather than increasing the temperature of the body

Specific heat is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of a unit mass of a substance by one degree (generally degree Celsius or Kelvin). We can simply explain this as if we had something, and we wanted to raise its temperature to a certain amount, how much energy would we need to supply to that substance based on the mass of the substance? The formula for specific heat can be written as:
$Q = mc\Delta T$
Where,
Q is the heat energy added in Kilojoules
c is the specific heat in $kJk{g^{ - 1}}K$
m is the mass (kilogram)
$\Delta T$ is the change in temperature in Kelvin

We can see that substances with a high specific heat require a large amount of heat to raise their temperature by one Kelvin. On the other hand, substances with a low specific heat require a smaller amount of heat. This can be proved from the above equation, looking at the equation if we raise (specific heat), Q (heat energy) will increase as well.

Now in the question, it is asked what is the latent heat of metal as compared to water, let's think about the properties of water and metal. How much energy would it require to raise the temperature of each?
If we take an equal mass of metal and water is exposed to the same amount of heat. Then the question arises, which one would heat first? On a hot summer day in which you touch water or a metal rod. Typically, the metal rod would be much hotter than the water.
So, the conclusion could be made that the specific heat of metal is lower than the specific heat of the water. It requires less heat per unit mass to make an increase in the temperature for metal than it does for water.
General values of specific are given below,
Specific heat of water: $4.187 kJk{g^{ - 1}}K$
Specific heat of, iron: $0.444 kJk{g^{ - 1}}K$ (iron has a lower specific heat than water)

Note:
• The specific heat is the property of the substance and varies for various substances.
• The specific heat can be judged as the rise in temperature.
• The latent heat doesn’t cause a rise in temperature it changes the state of the object.