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An Experiment to Find the Amount of Heat Energy Released When 1g of Candle Wax Burns

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Introduction

An Experiment to Find the Amount of Heat Energy Released When 1g of Candle Wax Burns Aim The aim of this experiment is to discover how much energy is released when we burn 1g of candle wax. Method The best way to conduct this experiment is to use the candle as it burns, to heat up water. The reason for this is because we know water's 'specific heat capacity' is. A specific heat capacity is how much energy is required to raise the temperature of 1kg of a material by one degree Celsius. 4200 joules are required to raise 1kg of water by one degree Celsius. We will carry out the experiment in the following way: � Make sure we measure the mass of the water before the experiment (we can do this by measuring the beaker mass, and taking it away from the mass of the water AND the beaker mass) � Also make sure we know the mass of the candle (and its holder) ...read more.

Middle

5 118.53 23.5 42.5 19 0.72 4.2x19x118.53 0.72 13.137 Conclusion Our results aren't very helpful when it comes to drawing a conclusion about how much energy there is in a gram of candle wax. However, we can narrow it down a bit. Experiments 3, 4 and 5 weren't carried out by us, but rather other trusted independent groups. We cannot be sure about whether these other groups observed the same measures as we did when conducting this experiment, so the validity of their results cannot be verified. Nevertheless, we ourselves conducted experiment 2 in a bias (on purpose) to observe what results we would achieve if we had done it that way. The bias involved leaving a 1.5cm gap between the flame and the beaker. This bias caused our results to tell us that there were 8.898kJ of energy for every gram of candle wax. This is very different from our 'ideally' carried out experiment number 1, which predicted 19.973kJ of energy per every gram. ...read more.

Conclusion

We can safely say that there is �21kJ per gram of candle wax. Problems Encountered The main problem which was encountered was the fact that we couldn't verify how accurate and reliable the results produced by other groups were. We didn't know how exactly they had carried out the experiment, and whether they'd observed the same precautions as us in order to produce the most accurate results. Next time we should check their technique so that we can decide for ourselves whether their results are worth using. Errors and Improvements Although we carried out the experiment with virtually no flaws, our results are still not 100% accurate. The main reason for this is the fact that the energy interchange between the candle wax and the water in the beaker was not 100% efficient. To produce more accurate results, we could have used a calorimeter. A calorimeter is a device which is specifically used to measure thermal quantity such as specific heat capacity or latent heat capacity. There are many forms of calorimeter, but the simplest is a thermometer attached to an insulated container. There are more complex and accurate calorimeters, but they tend to be expensive. ...read more.

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Response to the question

A overall quite well done experiment. The candidate shows a lot of consideration for things that may have affected the experiment and accounts for it throughout which is rare to see at this level, they also provide some background knowledge. ...

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Response to the question

A overall quite well done experiment. The candidate shows a lot of consideration for things that may have affected the experiment and accounts for it throughout which is rare to see at this level, they also provide some background knowledge. Calculations are missing which should be included so we can tell the reliability of them.

Level of analysis

The aim is clearly stated which is good, and the method which is chosen is also explained well. No prediction is made which would have been good to see some research behind other published figures. The method is not explained very well and should be set out in clear steps arranged in bullet points to be able to follow the experiment easily. The candidate does consider certain steps which may confound the results which is good to see as it shows consideration to make sure the experiment is as reliable as possible. The candidate provides a good analysis and how to improve the experiment but should not rely on other groups results to formulate opinions as they were not there to see how the experiment went so the reliability of the information is questionable.

Quality of writing

The format of the table should be a proper table as it is quite hard to read the different values and what they mean from the one given. Spaces for headings should be consistent e.g. the conclusion one looks untidy and they should be in bold to separate out each section of text. Grammar, punctuation and spelling are fine, but the format needs work to make it look a lot neater.


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Reviewed by skatealexia 05/08/2012

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