MadSci Network: Physics

Re: Why is specific heat abreviated as 'Cp' ?

Date: Thu Mar 16 11:49:48 2000
Posted By: Andreas Kieron P. Bender, Grad student, Chemistry, Trinity College Dublin
Area of science: Physics
ID: 953099731.Ph

Hi Eric,

the explanation is quite simple. You have two different possibilities when you measure the specific heat - either you keep the pressure constant or the volume. In both cases you have the letter "C" and as an index you have either "v" if you keep the volume constant or "p" if you keep the pressure constant.

And - what is the bigger one? It is Cp. Why?
If you say "pressure constant!" then you allow the system to expand. And if it expands, it "works" - so the energy you put into the system is used for expansion (at least partially). In the case of constant volume you don't have this work - so Cv is a little bit smaller than Cp.

If you need more, read a book about physcial chemistry or so, Atkins for example.

Bye, Andreas

Current Queue | Current Queue for Physics | Physics archives

Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Physics.

MadSci Home | Information | Search | Random Knowledge Generator | MadSci Archives | Mad Library | MAD Labs | MAD FAQs | Ask a ? | Join Us! | Help Support MadSci

MadSci Network,
© 1995-2000. All rights reserved.