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Q & A: Heat capacity of a water balloon

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
what is the heat capacity of a water balloon?
- lee (age 11)
A:
The amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of liquid water by one degree Celsius is one calorie per gram of water. (Here the calorie is 1/1000'th of the Calorie -- with a capital C, which is the usual unit of energy in food). One calorie is 4.2 Joules. The rubber in the balloon should contribute negligibly to the heat capacity of the whole water balloon.

The 1 calorie per degree gram is called the "specific heat". The heat capacity is just the specific heat times the number of grams of water in the ballon, and has the units calories per degree.

Tom

(published on 10/22/2007)

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