Difference Between Specific Heat and Thermal Capacity (With Table)

Heat and Heat Capacity are the terms of our daily life especially in the case of cooking, ironing through which we start our routine. Having warm water is the process that is related to Specific heat and Thermal Capacity. They both are unique terminologies. Heat is the form of energy and energy can be stored as well as transferred.

Specific Heat vs Thermal Capacity

The main difference between Specific Heat and Thermal capacity is that Specific Heat is the total amount of heat consumption required to pull up the temperature of an available object by one kelvin whereas Thermal Capacity is variation in temperature regarding the total amount of heat required varies as ber the object.

The term Specific Heat is used for the objects that required low heating temperature. It is calculated through the adequate amount of heat gained or lost by an object. It allows the measurement of the atomic weights of a compound. Specific Heat is helpful in calculation of heat energy holding capacity of an object.

The term Thermal capacity is used in physics to calculate the heating temperature of an object. It is used for making insulated pieces of equipment that are needed for heat transportation. The process carried by thermal capacity is prominent for copper, shows high electricals, etc. Heating temperature is high in the case of Thermal capacity.

Comparison Table Between Specific Heat and Thermal Capacity

Parameters of Comparison

Specific Heat

Thermal Capacity

Scientific Sign

The scientific symbol or sign for Specific Heat is a small letter alphabet “c”.

The scientific symbol or sign for Thermal Capacity is a Capital letter alphabet “C”.

Calculation Method

Value of  Heat required is calculated as per this method Q = mc T

Value of Thermal capacity is calculated as per this method  C = Q/ T  

Mass support

It is not the criteria in the case of Specific Heat.

Thermal capacity has a major dependency on mass support.

Standard Unit

The Standard unit for Specific heat is Joule per kilogram per kelvin.

And, Thermal capacity has a standard unit as Joule per Kelvin.


Specific Heat is impacted by the kind and phase of an object.

Thermal capacity is impacted by the temperature of heat and the direction of heat.

What is Specific Heat?

The Specific Heat varies with the shift in the inversion of heat energy. Heat adding capacity of a substance is derived with the help of Specific Heat. Joseph Black was the first person who experimented with Specific Heat in the 18th century, He was a medical scientist and a professor at Glasgow University. 

The temperature of heat does not increase while in transition mode. Specific Heat can boil or melt while changing its state in the transition phase. It is usually calculated for gases, liquids, and solids. For gases, the specific heat is calculated at a constant position.

Apart from Physics, Specific Heat is also counted in chemistry for measuring the total amount of calories. Water has the highest Specific Heat amount on earth. In the specific cases of gases, there are infinite values for specific heat. The Scientific Symbol for Specific Heat is a small alphabet “c” and “s”. The manufacturing Handles of kettles and saucepans are some equipment that required low heat conductivity and specific heat is used in making them.

Specific Heat is majorly dependent upon the properties of an object for calculating the referral measurement. (J Kg⎺1 K⎺1) or Joule per kilogram per degree Celsius is the standard unit of the Specific Heat.

What is Thermal Capacity?

Thermal capacity is the term used in place of the Heat capacity of an element in science. Joule per Kelvin is the Standard unit for Thermal Capacity. It has a feature of an extensive property. At the highest level of temperature, the thermal capacity per atom is almost the same for every kind of element. 

As per Physics, the Thermal Capacity of an object is measured by the heat supply level to the object to increase its temperature up to 1K. The very common example of Thermal capacity is metal and milk. Copper heats up very fast and cools down as soon since it has a low Thermal Capacity whereas Milk takes time to boil up and cool down. This explains their capacity for Thermal Energy. 

The highest level of Thermal Capacity is found in water since it requires a huge amount of heat to get hot. Every element has a high Thermal Capacity consumes lots of heat energy. Unlike Specific Heat, the Thermal Capacity does not have any intensive variable. The Scientific symbol for Thermal capacity is the capital letter alphabet “C”.

Apart from the Thermal Capacity of any substance the quantity of any substance also plays a major role in heat consumption which does not represent their actual Thermal Capacity.

Main Differences Between Specific Heat and Thermal Capacity

  1. Additional Names: The Specific Heat is also known as Massic Heat Capacity and Thermal Capacity is also called Heat Capacity in general.
  2. Meaning: Specific Heat refers to the amount of heat stored in an object on the contrary Thermal Capacity refers to the heat moving within the different source of systems or in a sole system.
  3. Equipment used: Specific Heat is required in equipment like saucepans and kettles and Thermal capacity is required in equipment like thermal insulators.
  4. Objective: the objective of Specific Heat is the storage of heat, on the other hand, Thermal Capacity has the object of transportation of heat.
  5. Concept: Specific Heat is the concept required in making cooking tools like the cooker and Thermal heat is the concept required in the making of  materials similar to heat sink etc.


Physics is the source behind Specific Heat and Thermal Capacity since they both are calculated using theoretical formulas of Physics. In some instances, the experts write Specific Heat as Specific Heat Capacity which has no different meaning. Thermal Capacity has a direct relationship with the mass of an object, therefore, the Heat capacity of the 150gm object is not the same as the 250gm of an object. 

Aluminum is an example of a high Specific Heat conductor since it requires a high level of heat to transport its energy. Technically Specific Heat is nothing just a total amount of heat that needs to be beheld by a mass of an object.


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S147470650300069X
  2. https://academic.oup.com/jge/article/2/4/349/5078234?login=true