Can specific heat be negative? I know energy can be (as in joules or calories) because when something cools down the temperature difference is a negative, and because the energy is an important part of the formula for specific heat, couldn't it be negative?

Specific heat content is defined as the heat required to raise a given mass 1 deg C. It takes real heat (+) to increase temperature, in accordance with the Kinetic Molecular theory.

Then how come calories and joules (as in energy) can be negative?

We learned this formula for cp.

cp of object 2=m(water) * temp. difference (water) * cp (water)% m (object 2) * temp. difference (object 2)

What if the temperature difference is negative for either the water or the object? Wouldn't the cp come out negative?

That is not the definition of specific heat capacity. This formula is exactly wrong. Let me show you.

In any reaction, the sum of the heat gains is zero. Some will lose heat (negative gain), and some will gain.

Heatgainedbywater+ heatgainedbyboject=0

Now if you solve this, it is always correct. Your teacher probably did the old (wrong) Heat gained= heat lost

But this is NOT right what is right is
absolutevalue Heatgained=absolutevalue Heat lost. When you solve it for cp, you get your formula, but you dropped the absolute values signs, making the problem you suggest: how to handle signs.

Heat capacity is always positive.

Thanks, but I should probably do it the way my teacher taught me to. And I guess I'll just drop the negative.

  1. 👍
  2. 👎
  3. 👁

Respond to this Question

First Name

Your Response

Similar Questions

  1. chemistry

    3.) A 5.00 x 10^2 g block of metal absorbs 5016 joules of heat when its temperature changed from 20 degrees C to 30 degrees C. Calculate the specific heat of the metal. I used the formula and came with two answers 100.32 joules

  2. Physics

    What is the heat required in kilocalories to convert 2 kg of ice at 0°C completely into steam at 100°C? -80 Calories -1440 Calories -4186 Calories -540 Calories Thanks!

  3. chemistry calorimetry

    how can i get the mass of a liquid when i'm given the heat enrgy that is added, and the specific heat of the liquid to which is added, plus the increase in temperature. q = mass x specific heat x (Tf - Ti) q is heat in Joules.

  4. chemistry

    * A 50 gram sample of an unknown metal warms from 18 to 58 after absorbing 800 joules of energy. what is the specific heat of the metal? *copper has a specific heat of 0.387 j/g degree celsius. what is the mass of a piece of

  1. Science

    How many calories of heat energy are required to melt 20 grams of ice at 0 °C? Answer: _____ calories How many calories of heat are required to evaporate 20 grams of liquid water at 0 °C? Answer: _____ calories

  2. science

    The specific heat of silver is 0.057 calories/gram°C. If 10.0 grams of silver were heated and the temperature of the sample changed by 20.0°C, how many calories of heat energy were absorbed by the sample? (A)3,508 calories

  3. chemistry

    calculate the energy, in joules and calories required to heat 25.0g of water form 12.5 deg. celcius to 25.7 deg. celcius i know the answer just need to see how to do it especially the calories

  4. Chemistry - Heat of Fusion of Ice

    Conclusion question(s) from a lab we did to find the heat of fusion of ice: Does the value obtained for the molar heat of fusion depend on the volume of water used? Does it depend on the mass of ice melted? Does it depend on the

  1. Physics

    A 50.0 g silver spoon at 20.0 degrees Celsius is placed in a cup of coffee at 90.0 degrees C. How much heat does the spoon absorb from the coffee to reach a temp. of 89.0 degrees C? Rememeber this equation. It, or a slight

  2. Chemistry Help!

    calculate the specific heat of a metallic element if 314 joules of energy are needed to raise the teperature of a 50.0g sample from 25C to 50C. i'm not sure if you use the Q=(s)(m)(delta t) equation or not since it asks for the

  3. Chemistry

    The temperature of a 2.0 g sample of aluminum increases from 25 to 30 degrees celcius. How many joules of heat energy were added? Specific heat of Aluminum is .9

  4. Chemistry

    Using calories, calculate how much heat 32.0g of water absorbs when it is heated from 25.0 degrees C to 80.0 degrees C. How many joules is this? Are these steps right? 32.0g x 55*C = 1760 calories = 420.65 Joules

You can view more similar questions or ask a new question.