Temperature is a physical property of matter that is a measure of how much heat energy is contained in each molecule of a substance. Energy may be added or removed from the substance to raise or lower the temperature. The specific heat capacity of a substance is the ratio of the amount of heat necessary to raise the temperature of 1 gram of a substance by 1 degree. The initial temperature of a substance that has warmed or cooled can be determined by using this property of matter.

## Specific Heat Capacity

Specific heat is a physical property of matter that is defined as how much a substance must be heated or cooled in order to gain or lose heat energy. For example, the specific heat capacity of copper is 0.385 joules per gram. This is interpreted to mean that it takes 0.385 joules of heat energy to raise a single gram of copper a single degree Celsius.

## Heat Energy

The heat energy applied to a substance is directly related the specific heat capacity of that substance. Within the context of heat capacity equations, energy is the quantity of heat applied to a substance measured in terms of units called joules. This heat energy indicates how much a substance of a given mass is heated or cooled depending on the heat capacity and mass of the substance.

## Energy Equation for Heat Capacity

The relationship between heat capacity, energy, mass and temperature is expressed in the equation E = mc(T-t), where E is the heat energy applied to a substance, m is the mass of the substance, c is the specific heat capacity of the substance, T is the final temperature, and t is the initial temperature of the substance. To find the initial temperature of a substance, rearrange the energy equation to solve for the initial temperature. This results in the equation t = -((E / (c)(m)) - T).

## Initial Temperature

To find the initial temperature of a specific heat equation, substitute the known values for energy, heat capacity, mass and final temperature into the equation t = -((E / (c)(m)) - T). For example, if e = 0.975 joules, c = 0.72 joules/gram*kelvin, m = 35.82 grams and t = 289.41 kelvin, then t = -((0.975 / (0.72 * 35.82)) - 289.41) = 327.215 Kelvin, which is approximately 54.215 degrees Celsius.