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Name: Marc
Status: Educator
Grade: 9-12
Location: IL
Country: USA
Date: June 2006

Is there a relation between thermal conductivity and specific heat (heat capacity)? You may except metal solids.


The short answer is "No". There is no relationship at all between thermal conductivity and specific heat. This is not only true among different elements, alloys, compounds, etc, where many examples can be shown of substances that have high thermal conductivities and low specific heat, yet other examples can easily be called to mind that are the exact opposite. This can also easily be demonstrated with allotropes of many common elements. For example, compare graphite and diamond. Both are pure carbon; chemically identical. The only difference is crystal structure. Graphite has a specific heat that is about 50% higher than diamond. But diamond has a thermal conductivity that is more than 800 times better than graphite. Thermal conductivity and specific heat are quite clearly unrelated.

Bob Wilson

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