In calorimetry several terms are interchangeable:

  • Lower Calorific Value
  • Lower Heating Value
  • Net Calorific Value
  • Net Heating Value

The following terms also appear to have identical meanings:

  • Higher Calorific Value
  • Higher Heating Value
  • Gross Calorific Value
  • Gross Heating Value
  • Gross Energy

So far I can think of several factors affecting which term should be used.

  • In the days of the early discoveries of calorimetry, Latin was just as much of a research language as English, so interchangeability of the terms calorimetric (which derives from the Latin word calor meaning heat) and heating would be understood.

  • The word value sounds like a non-specific reference to a number.

  • The unit Calorie is not part of the SI standard though it is derived from SI units. In the context of describing the energy required to raise the temperature of water it may be appropriate.

It seems like gross or net heat energy would be the best term for scientific usage. Does any standard or consensus exists which defines which of these terms are best to use?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I haven't ever seen calorific used. Are you sure you don't mean caloric? Caloric value is pretty common though mainly used for food calories. $\endgroup$ – Tyberius Sep 2 '17 at 3:19
  • $\begingroup$ It might also help if you give an example sentence where you want to include one of these times. "We find that the ___ of cubane is ..." $\endgroup$ – Tyberius Sep 4 '17 at 15:03
  • $\begingroup$ Pulling random sentences from an internet search. ... The higher heating value of anthracite coal was tested and found to be 32.50 MJ/kg. ... The biogas from the digester has a calorific value of 4,500 to 5,000 K. cal/m³. ... LOL .. add caloric to the pile of words ... "The current system 'provides only an estimate of the energy content of foods,' but 'determining the real caloric value of a food item requires actual feeding experiments,' one speaker said. $\endgroup$ – Agriculturist Sep 5 '17 at 14:37
  • $\begingroup$ An explanation of differences connotation may work for an answer. Higher heating value is associated with fuel energy content. $\endgroup$ – Agriculturist Sep 5 '17 at 14:40

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