Featured in PASCO’s Physics through Inquiry Teacher Guide

Physics through Inquiry Teacher Guide


Features over 30 inquiry based labs covering the core topic areas of mechanics, electricity and magnetism, optics, thermodynamics and more.

Specific Heat of a Metal

Lab Summary

Use a stainless steel temperature sensor to compare the heat transferred by different metals to water.


In this experiment, students compare the heat transferred by different metals to water. By comparing the heat transfer, students learn:

  • How different metals store heat.
  • That the capacity of a substance to store heat is a characteristic of that substance.


Students gain experience conducting the following procedures:

  • Measuring the temperature change caused by introducing a higher temperature metal to a room temperature liquid.
  • Thermally isolating metal and liquid samples to insure that the heat transfer is only between samples.
  • Comparing the heat transferred by different metals to determine the heat capacities of the metals.

Sensors / Equipment Used:

PASPORT Absolute Pressure/Temperature Sensor


Designed for ideal gas law allowing both absolute pressure and temperature measurement. For use with PASPORT Interfaces.

PASPORT Stainless Steel Temperature Probe


Is a versatile probe with wide temperature range. For use with PASPORT and ScienceWorkshop Interfaces.

Materials Used:


Calorimetry cup

Hot plate

Metal sample

String, 15 cm ~ 3

Beaker, 600 mL


Water 1 L

The Associated Bundle:

Physics Standard Sensor Bundle


Contains the probeware needed to perform all 37 lab activities in the Physics through Inquiry lab manual.

Interface Required

This experiment may require software and an interface for data collection.