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Design and carry out an experiment to find out the energy content of various foods.

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SC1 Investigation Problem For this piece of coursework, I intend to design and carry out an experiment to find out the energy content of various foods. Method For my experiment I have chosen four different foods that I will test for energy content, they are sweetened banana chips, toffee popcorn, original flavour Hula Hoops and salted peanuts. I will use the following apparatus and will set it up as shown: For the experiment all I am going to have three variables, the food that I use, temperature of the water and the weights of the food won't all be equal, everything else will be kept the same, the distance of the candle from the test tube, the amount of water in the test tubes, etc. I will fill the test tube with 25cm3 of water using a measuring beaker. I will do three or four tests of each food as to obtain an accurate result and a good average. For each specimen I will find the starting weight, and the starting temperature of the water in the test tube. For the actual experiment I will start off by attaching the food to a spike and then setting it alight by the use of a candle. ...read more.


So my prediction is that the sweetened banana chips will contain the most energy. Calculations (using the equations previously listed): Food Energy Content (kJ) of individual pieces Energy Content per 100grams (kJ) Sweetened Banana Chips Test 1 5.36 205.17 Test 2 4.73 390.50 Test 3 3.68 382.81 Toffee Popcorn Test 1 0.89 55.78 Test 2 2.31 360.94 Test 3 1.68 730.43 Test 4 1.26 323.08 Original Flavour Hula Hoops Test 1 1.52 323.94 Test 2 2.68 243.41 Test 3 3.78 366.99 Test 4 3.89 431.67 Salted Peanuts Test 1 3.36 840.00 Test 2 5.15 791.54 Test 3 6.41 1307.14 Test 4 3.47 707.14 Averages: Food Energy Content (kJ) of individual pieces Energy Content per 100grams (kJ) Sweetened Banana Chips 4.59 326.16 Toffee Popcorn 1.84 344.67 Original Flavour Hula Hoops 2.97 341.5 Salted Peanuts 4.6 911.45 When going back to my original prediction it looks as if it was quite the wrong idea as, when looking at the results, one can see that the sweetened banana chips do not contain the most energy, as I thought, instead the salted peanuts do. Following is a table of the energy contents that were listed on the packets: Food Energy Content per 100grams Sweetened Banana Chips ...read more.


Another thing I would have tried to change is the method of setting the food alight, since so much energy was lost that way. Another experiment that could be performed to more accurately discover the energy contents of different foods is the same experiment that is used to oxidize sugar. The setup of apparatus is shown below: This experiment would be far more accurate for quite a few reasons. First of all no real amount of energy is lost through the air as the burning sugar is surrounded by the water that it is supposed to be heating up. No heat is lost through the heating of the test tube (or in this case the jar or beaker which contains the sugar) because although it is heated, the heat only serves to heat up the water even more. No energy is lost during a transition of the lighted food to the jar as it is lighted in the jar. The hot gases that rose off of the food while it was burning was wasted during my experiment but for this experiment it heats the water as it rises since the tube which it rises through is also surrounded by water. So, overall this experiment is a far more accurate way of measuring the energy content of foods. ...read more.

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