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  • Observe heat transfer and change in temperature and mass.
  • Calculate final temperature after heat transfer between two objects.

One of the major effects of heat transfer is temperature change: heating increases the temperature while cooling decreases it. We assume that there is no phase change and that no work is done on or by the system. Experiments show that the transferred heat depends on three factors—the change in temperature, the mass of the system, and the substance and phase of the substance.

Figure a shows a copper-colored cylinder of mass m and temperature change delta T. The heat Q, shown as a wavy rightward horizontal arrow, is transferred to the cylinder from the left. To the right of this image is a similar image, except that the heat transferred Q prime is twice the heat Q. The temperature change of this second cylinder, which is also labeled m, is two delta T. This cylinder is surrounded by small black wavy lines radiating outward. Figure b shows the same two cylinders as in Figure a. The left cylinder is labeled m and delta T and has a wavy heat arrow pointing at it from the left that is labeled Q. The right cylinder is labeled two m and delta T and has a wavy heat arrow pointing to it from the left labeled Q prime equals two Q. Figure c shows the same copper cylinder of mass m and with temperature change delta T, with heat Q being transferred to it. To the right of this cylinder, Q prime equals ten point eight times Q is being transferred to another cylinder filled with water whose mass and change in temperature are the same as that of the copper cylinder.
The heat Q size 12{Q} {} transferred to cause a temperature change depends on the magnitude of the temperature change, the mass of the system, and the substance and phase involved. (a) The amount of heat transferred is directly proportional to the temperature change. To double the temperature change of a mass m size 12{m} {} , you need to add twice the heat. (b) The amount of heat transferred is also directly proportional to the mass. To cause an equivalent temperature change in a doubled mass, you need to add twice the heat. (c) The amount of heat transferred depends on the substance and its phase. If it takes an amount Q size 12{Q} {} of heat to cause a temperature change Δ T size 12{ΔT} {} in a given mass of copper, it will take 10.8 times that amount of heat to cause the equivalent temperature change in the same mass of water assuming no phase change in either substance.

The dependence on temperature change and mass are easily understood. Owing to the fact that the (average) kinetic energy of an atom or molecule is proportional to the absolute temperature, the internal energy of a system is proportional to the absolute temperature and the number of atoms or molecules. Owing to the fact that the transferred heat is equal to the change in the internal energy, the heat is proportional to the mass of the substance and the temperature change. The transferred heat also depends on the substance so that, for example, the heat necessary to raise the temperature is less for alcohol than for water. For the same substance, the transferred heat also depends on the phase (gas, liquid, or solid).

Heat transfer and temperature change

The quantitative relationship between heat transfer and temperature change contains all three factors:

Q = mc Δ T , size 12{Q= ital "mc"ΔT,} {}

where Q size 12{Q} {} is the symbol for heat transfer, m size 12{m} {} is the mass of the substance, and Δ T is the change in temperature. The symbol c size 12{c} {} stands for specific heat    and depends on the material and phase. The specific heat is the amount of heat necessary to change the temperature of 1.00 kg of mass by 1 .00ºC . The specific heat c is a property of the substance; its SI unit is J/ ( kg K ) or J/ ( kg ⋅ºC ). Recall that the temperature change ( Δ T ) is the same in units of kelvin and degrees Celsius. If heat transfer is measured in kilocalories, then the unit of specific heat is kcal/ ( kg ⋅ºC ).

Values of specific heat must generally be looked up in tables, because there is no simple way to calculate them. In general, the specific heat also depends on the temperature. [link] lists representative values of specific heat for various substances. Except for gases, the temperature and volume dependence of the specific heat of most substances is weak. We see from this table that the specific heat of water is five times that of glass and ten times that of iron, which means that it takes five times as much heat to raise the temperature of water the same amount as for glass and ten times as much heat to raise the temperature of water as for iron. In fact, water has one of the largest specific heats of any material, which is important for sustaining life on Earth.

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Source:  OpenStax, Abe advanced level physics. OpenStax CNX. Jul 11, 2013 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11534/1.3
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