Interactive Self-Study Module: Heat Capacities


This module uses screencasts and a spreadsheet to explain heat capacities of solids, liquids, and gases. Your retention of material in this module will increase if you write down reasons for your answers to ConcepTests and questions in screencasts, and you try to solve the example problems before watching the screencast solutions. We suggest using the learning resources in the following order:

  1. Attempt to answer the multiple-choice ConcepTest and solve the example problem before watching the screencasts or working with the spreadsheet.
  2. Watch the screencasts that describe heat capacities and answer the questions within the screencasts.
  3. Review important equations for heat capacities.
  4. Try to solve the example problems before watching the solutions in the screencasts.
  5. Answer the ConcepTests.
  6. Look at the list of key points, but only after you try to list the key points yourself.
  • Heat capacities are used extensively to calculate the energy required to raise the temperature of a substance. 
  • This module is intended for a material and energy balances course.
Before studying this module, you should:
  • Know how to carry out integration of a definite integral.
  • Know the meaning of internal energy and the definition of enthalpy.
  • Be able to solve a nonlinear equation using software such as Solver in Excel.
After studying this module, you should be able to:
  • Calculate the final temperature when a given amount of heat is added to a gas, liquid, or solid.
  • Calculate the amount of heat needed to raise a substance to a given temperature.
  • Calculate enthalpy changes when more than one temperature-dependent heat capacity equation is required to cover the temperature range.