Posted by lindsey on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 10:48pm.
You can look them up in a chart. Try going to engineeringtoolbox website. They have a very useful chart of the specific heat of metals
Heat a known mass of a metal to a known temperature (say, for example, 10.00 g at 78.5 deg C)
Add the metal to a known mass of water at a known temperature (say 75.00 g at 25.0 deg C) in a calorimeter.
Let the metal and the water come to an equilibrium temperature, Tf. (The metal cools from 78.5 to Tf; the water warms from 25.0 to Tf.)
The heat lost by the metal equals the heat gained by the water (assuming the calorimeter absorbs none of the heat).
the specific heat can be given as the calories per gram of material per degree change. The heat loss of the metal is -
Heat Lost = specific heat x 10.00 g x (78.5 - Tf)
The specific heat of water is known to be 1.00 cal/g deg.
Heat Gained = 1.00 x 75.00 g x (Tf - 25.0)
Since the Heat Lost = the Heat Gained, and the final temperature, Tf, can be measured, the only unknown is the specific heat of the metal.
Assume Tf = 28.00 deg
specific heat x 10.00 x 50.5 = 1.00 x 75.00 x 3.00
specific heat = 0.445 cal/g deg