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Why does water have a high specific heat?

  1. Aug 17, 2005 #1
    I am writting an essay for AP biology when I realize I am not entirely sure why water has a high specific heat. I thought for a moment it may be because of its polarity and hydrogen bonds keeping the molecules from moving too much too easily in a sense. I only have one day to do thats :surprised . I searched google and all I got were pages saying that water has high specific heat, but not why.

    Thanks :smile:
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 18, 2005 #2


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    Because it is one of the lightest non-linear molecules.

    1. low molecular mass - so more moles per kg
    2. non-linear molecule - all 3 rotational degrees of freedom contribute to the specific heat

    PS : see also NH3
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