How to Find Specific Heat of Propane: A Comprehensive Guide

Propane is a widely used fuel gas, and understanding its specific heat is crucial for various engineering applications, such as combustion analysis, thermodynamic calculations, and equipment design. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the different methods to determine the specific heat of propane, providing you with the technical details and resources needed to find this important property.

EngineeringToolbox Method

The EngineeringToolbox, a reliable source for engineering data, provides the following values for the specific heat of gaseous propane at ambient pressure and temperature:

  • Isobaric specific heat (Cp): 1.68 kJ/kg·K or 0.402 Btu/lb·°F = 0.402 cal/g·K
  • Isochoric specific heat (Cv): 1.48 kJ/kg·K or 0.353 Btu/lb·°F = 0.353 cal/g·K

These values are based on extensive experimental data and are widely accepted in the engineering community. The isobaric specific heat (Cp) represents the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one kilogram of propane by one Kelvin at constant pressure, while the isochoric specific heat (Cv) is the heat required to raise the temperature of one kilogram of propane by one Kelvin at constant volume.

NIST WebBook Method

how to find specific heat of propane

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) WebBook is another reliable source for thermophysical property data, including the specific heat of propane. To access this information, you can follow these steps:

  1. Visit the NIST WebBook website (
  2. In the search bar, enter “propane” and select the “Thermophysical Properties” option.
  3. The WebBook will provide a comprehensive set of data on the specific heat and other related properties of propane, such as enthalpy, entropy, and Gibbs free energy.

The NIST WebBook data is based on extensive experimental measurements and theoretical calculations, ensuring the accuracy and reliability of the specific heat values for propane.

Theoretical Calculation Method

For a more theoretical approach, you can calculate the specific heat of propane using the principles of thermodynamics and kinetic theory. The specific heat of a monatomic gas, such as helium or argon, can be calculated using the following equations:

  • Specific heat at constant pressure (Cp): $20.8\, \mathrm{\dfrac{J}{mol\cdot K}}$
  • Specific heat at constant volume (Cv): $12.5\, \mathrm{\dfrac{J}{mol\cdot K}}$

However, for polyatomic gases like propane, the calculation becomes more complex due to the additional degrees of freedom associated with the molecular structure. In these cases, the specific heat calculation may require the use of quantum mechanics and statistical thermodynamics.

Online Propane Specific Heat Calculator

For a more convenient and user-friendly approach, you can utilize the online propane specific heat calculator provided by the EngineeringToolbox. This calculator allows you to estimate the specific heat of propane at both constant volume (Cv) and constant pressure (Cp) for a given temperature. The calculator takes into account the thermophysical properties of propane and provides the specific heat values in various units, such as kJ/kg·K, Btu/lb·°F, and cal/g·K.

Technical Specifications and Resources

To further explore the technical details and specifications for finding the specific heat of propane, you can refer to the following resources:

  1. EngineeringToolbox: This website offers a wealth of information on the specific heat of propane, including figures, tables, and equations that demonstrate the relationship between specific heat, temperature, and pressure. You can find this data at and

  2. NIST WebBook: The NIST WebBook provides a comprehensive database of thermophysical properties for propane, including measurements of heats of combustion by flame calorimetry and detailed thermodynamic properties of gaseous paraffins. You can access this information at

  3. Vincenti and Kruger’s “Introduction to Physical Gas Dynamics”: This book offers a detailed explanation of the classical method for calculating the heat capacities of gases using thermodynamics and kinetic theory. It provides a solid theoretical foundation for understanding the specific heat of propane and other gases.

By utilizing the methods and resources outlined in this guide, you can accurately determine the specific heat of propane, enabling you to make informed decisions and perform precise calculations in various engineering applications.


  1. EngineeringToolbox. (n.d.). Propane – Thermophysical Properties. Retrieved from
  2. EngineeringToolbox. (n.d.). Specific Heat Capacity of Propane – Cp and Cv. Retrieved from
  3. NIST. (n.d.). NIST Chemistry WebBook. Retrieved from
  4. Vincenti, W. G., & Kruger, C. H. (1965). Introduction to Physical Gas Dynamics. Wiley.
  5. Physics Stack Exchange. (2017). Theoretical calculation of specific heat of a gas. Retrieved from
  6. Eng-Tips. (2007). Specific Heat of Propane. Retrieved from