Heat Capacity - Background

Background

Before the development of modern thermodynamics, it was thought that heat was a fluid, the so-called caloric. Bodies were capable of holding a certain amount of this fluid, hence the term heat capacity, named and first investigated by Joseph Black in the 1750s. Today one instead discusses the internal energy of a system. This is made up of its microscopic kinetic and potential energy. Heat is no longer considered a fluid. Rather, it is a transfer of disordered energy at the microscopic level. Nevertheless, at least in English, the term "heat capacity" survives. Some other languages prefer the term thermal capacity, which is also sometimes used in English.

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