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Heating Up Applications - Energy Required and Heat Transfer Rates

Energy required to heat up a substance.

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The energy required to heat up a substance - like a tank, swimming pool or similar - within a certain time can be calculated as

q = m cp dT / t                     (1)


q = mean heat transfer rate (kW)

m = mass of substance (kg)

cp = specific heat of the substance (kJ/kg oC)

dT = temperature difference (oC)

t = heat up time (s)

Note that heat loss to the surroundings will extend the heat up time. 

Example - Heating up an Aluminum Saucepan filled with Cold Water

An aluminum saucepan with weight 2 kg is filled with 10 liter cold water with temperature 0 oC and heated to temperature 100oC (boiling) in one hour. The heat transfer rate (or required power) can be calculated as

q = [( (10 liter) (1 kg/liter) (4.2 kJ/kgoC) + (2 kg) (0.91 kJ/kgoC) ) ( (100 oC) - (0 oC) )] / [(1 h) 3600 (s/h)]

  =  1.2 kW       

The energy consumed can be calculated as

E = q t                              (2)


E = energy (kJ, kWs)

t = time (h)

- or, with values

E = (1.2 kW) (1 h)

   = 1.2 kWh

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  • Engineering ToolBox, (2009). Heating Up Applications - Energy Required and Heat Transfer Rates. [online] Available at: [Accessed Day Mo. Year].

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