# Finding Specific Heat of a solid

• sarahjohn
In summary: Aluminum 900In summary,The atomic mass of copper is 382. The atomic mass of aluminum is 27. Copper has a lower specific heat than aluminum.
sarahjohn
Homework Statement
For most solids at room temperature, the specific heat is determined by oscillations of the atom cores in the lattice (each oscillating lattice site contributes 3kT of energy, by equipartition), as well as a contribution from the mobile electrons (if it's a metal). At room temperature the latter contribution is typically much smaller than the former, so we will ignore it here. In other words, you can reasonably estimate the specific heat simply by counting the number of atoms!

Use this fact to estimate the specific heat of copper (atomic mass = 63.6), given that the specific heat of aluminum (atomic mass = 27.0) is 900 J/kg-K.
Relevant Equations
Q = mc(delta T)
I thought it might me a ratio of the atomic masses.
27 / 63.6 = x / 900
x = 382 J/kg-K

Last edited:
Steve4Physics said:
Hi @sarahjohn. In accordance with the rules here, you need to show that you have made some effort yourself before we can offer help. See Item 4 here: https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/homework-help-guidelines-for-students-and-helpers.686781/

Having said that, I will add that you should carefully read your homework statement. Does it suggest any possible approach?
Thank you for letting me know! I have updated my question.

Steve4Physics
sarahjohn said:
Homework Statement:: For most solids at room temperature, the specific heat is determined by oscillations of the atom cores in the lattice (each oscillating lattice site contributes 3kT of energy, by equipartition), as well as a contribution from the mobile electrons (if it's a metal). At room temperature the latter contribution is typically much smaller than the former, so we will ignore it here. In other words, you can reasonably estimate the specific heat simply by counting the number of atoms!

Use this fact to estimate the specific heat of copper (atomic mass = 63.6), given that the specific heat of aluminum (atomic mass = 27.0) is 900 J/kg-K.
Relevant Equations:: Q = mc(delta T)

I thought it might me a ratio of the atomic masses.
27 / 63.6 = x / 900
x = 382 J/kg-K
Maybe! But is that a guess or is there some reasoning behind it? What is the reasonng?

## 1. What is specific heat and why is it important?

Specific heat is the amount of heat energy required to raise the temperature of a substance by 1 degree Celsius. It is important because it helps us understand how materials respond to changes in temperature and how much energy is needed to heat or cool them.

## 2. How is specific heat of a solid measured?

The specific heat of a solid can be measured using a calorimeter. The solid is heated to a known temperature and then placed in a container of water at a known temperature. The change in temperature of the water is measured and used to calculate the specific heat of the solid.

## 3. What factors can affect the specific heat of a solid?

The specific heat of a solid can be affected by factors such as the composition and structure of the material, its density, and its temperature. Additionally, impurities or defects in the material can also affect its specific heat.

## 4. How does the specific heat of a solid differ from that of a liquid or gas?

The specific heat of a solid is typically lower than that of a liquid or gas. This is because solids have a more organized structure and their molecules are closely packed, making it more difficult for them to absorb heat energy and increase in temperature.

## 5. Why is it important to know the specific heat of a solid?

Knowing the specific heat of a solid is important for various applications, such as in engineering and construction. It helps in designing and selecting materials for specific purposes, as well as in understanding the behavior of materials in different environments.

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