Science, Tech, Math › Science Heat Capacity Definition What Is Heat Capacity in Chemistry? Share Flipboard Email Print Water is a chemical with an extremely high heat capacity. It takes a lot of energy to raise its temperature. Erika Straesser / EyeEm / Getty Images Science Chemistry Chemical Laws Basics Molecules Periodic Table Projects & Experiments Scientific Method Biochemistry Physical Chemistry Medical Chemistry Chemistry In Everyday Life Famous Chemists Activities for Kids Abbreviations & Acronyms Biology Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Chemistry Expert Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Updated September 06, 2018 Heat Capacity Definition Heat capacity is the amount of heat energy required to raise the temperature of a body a specified amount. In SI units, heat capacity (symbol: C) is the amount of heat in joules required to raise the temperature 1 Kelvin. Heat capacity of a material is affected by the presence of hydrogen bonds. The intermolecular forces make it more difficult to increase the kinetic energy and thus temperature of a material. This is why water, ammonia, and ethanol have high heat capacity values. Impurities in a sample also have a dramatic effect on heat capacity. Heat properties of an alloy can vary dramatically from that of its component elements. Trace amounts of contaminants in a sample can change its heat capacity versus that of a pure sample. Examples: One gram of water has a heat capacity of 4.18 J. One gram of copper has a heat capacity of 0.39 J. Sources Emmerich Wilhelm & Trevor M. Letcher, Eds. (2010). Heat Capacities: Liquids, Solutions and Vapours, Cambridge, U.K.:Royal Society of Chemistry, ISBN 0-85404-176-1.Halliday, David; Resnick, Robert (2013). Fundamentals of Physics. Wiley. p. 524.Kittel, Charles (2005). Introduction to Solid State Physics (8th ed.). Hoboken, New Jersey, USA: John Wiley & Sons. p. 141. ISBN 0-471-41526-X.