HEATING CAPACITY


Heat capacity (usually denoted by a capital C, often with subscripts) is a measurable physical quantity that characterizes the ability of a body to store heat as it changes in temperature. It is defined as the rate of change of temperature as heat is added to a body at the given conditions and state of the body (foremost its temperature). In the International System of Units, heat capacity is expressed in units of joules per kelvin. It is termed an "extensive quantity" because it is sensitive to the size of the object (for example, a bathtub of water has a greater heat capacity than a cup of water). Dividing heat capacity by the body's mass yields a specific heat capacity (also called more properly "mass-specific heat capacity" or more loosely "specific heat"), which is an "intensive quantity," meaning it is no longer dependent on amount of material, and is now more dependent on the type of material, as well as the physical conditions of heating.



The British thermal unit (BTU or Btu) is a unit of energy used in North America. It is also still occasionally encountered in the United Kingdom, in the context of older heating and cooling systems. In most other areas, it has been replaced by the SI unit of energy, the joule (J).

In the United States, the term "BTU" is used to describe the heat value (energy content) of fuels, and also to describe the power of heating and cooling systems, such as furnaces, stoves, barbecue grills, and air conditioners. When used as a unit of power, BTU per hour is understood, though this is often confusingly abbreviated to just "BTU".