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Name: Sophia
Status: student
Age: 16
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 11/22/2004


Question:
What do trends in the periodic table and specific heat have to do with one another?


Replies:
There is no overarching connection because the elements of the periodic table are gases, liquids, and solids. In general, the molar heat capacity of gases is smaller than either solids or liquids. The molar heat capacity of solids is less than liquids particularly if the temperature is well below the melting point. Near the melting point the molar heat capacity of the liquid and solid can go either way depending upon the element. As one moves down a column of the periodic table the molar heat capacity tends to increase (a mass effect); however, if the crystal structure of the elements are different this trend may not hold. It is not useful to compare specific heats, which are measured in calories or joules per gram. The correct comparison is on a molar basis. Heat capacity is a very complicated property of substances so caution must be used in comparing trends. That applies to both elements and compounds.

Vince Calder



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