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On Application of Specific Heat Capacity of Solids

  1. Nov 24, 2003 #1
    Hello again!

    I'm not sure if this is difficult but I believe that everyone have experienced this... I can't explain it... =) Sorry about that.

    Anyway, here's my problem...

    At noon, when the sand in the beach is already hot, why does the water still feel cold? Early in the night when the cold wind blows, why can you swim comfortably?
    Why is it more comfortable to live in places near large bodies of water?

    I hope someone could help me here...
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 24, 2003 #2
    Haven't you pretty much answered your own question already? What is the definition of specific heat capacity? What happens to the temperatures of two substances of different specific heat capacities, if they gain or lose the same amount of heat?
  4. Nov 24, 2003 #3


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    He's right, you did answer your own question.

    The sand is hot because it takes very little energy to change the temperature of sand. Sand also cools off quickly. When day changes to night, the sand quickly changes its temperature until it is the same temperature as the air.
    The water takes lots of energy to heat up. When night time comes, there is so much energy stored in the water that it takes a long time for the water to reach equilibrium with the air.
  5. Nov 25, 2003 #4

    Hello! Ambitwistor, specific heat is the amount of heat
    needed to raise the temperature of a unit mass of a substance by one degree. I know what it means, but I don't really get how is this applied to simple events...

    Well, now I know... =) Thank you very much for your hints and guides. =) Thank you too, ShawnD.
  6. Nov 25, 2003 #5
    You're also only heating the surface of the sand to a depth of a few inches. With the sea, the motion of it ensures that the heat energy is dipersed more efficiently.
  7. Nov 25, 2003 #6


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    Of course, depending on where you are, the water will always be warm (Hawaii) or always be cold (Alaska).
  8. Nov 26, 2003 #7
    It is because the specific heat of water is high, there cannnot be high differences in temperature at the place. So protecting the homeostasis is easier.
  9. Nov 26, 2003 #8


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    Staff: Mentor

    ...or dirty (New Jersey).
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