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An experiment to find the heat energy in different alcohols.

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Introduction

An experiment to find the heat energy in different alcohols. In this experiment I will be burning 6 different alcohols to heat up a beaker of water. I will be burning 6 alcohols, methanol, ethanol, propanol, butanol, pentanol and hexonal. The aim is to find out how much energy is produced when burning these 6 different alcohols. Water and carbon dioxide is formed when the alcohol reacts with oxygen in the air. The heat energy is given out when forming the bonds between the new water and carbon dioxide molecules. The specific heat capacity is the number of joules required to heat one gram of water by 1�C. I decided to choose water because it is safe and easily found. I will also need to ensure that I conduct the experiments safely. As these alcohols are very dangerous and highly flammable I will wear my safety goggles at all times. I will need to keep all lose items off clothing tucked in e.g. ...read more.

Middle

Prediction I predict that the more bonds there are holding the carbon, oxygen and hydrogen atoms together, the more heat energy will be needed to break them apart. For example Ethanol has five C-H bonds, one C-C bond, one C-O bond and one O-H bond. To break these types of bonds you will need a certain amount of heat energy. To brake a C-H bond you need to give out around 410 joules of energy. All of the other alcohols can be broken up in this way. Which means the longer molecule takes more energy to break its bonds. I can come to predict that the longer the molecular atom in the alcohol the more energy it will take to break the bonds. So this means I can predict that Butanol will need more heat energy than methanol because it has more bonds to break. Results Alcohol Starting temp (c) Finishing temp (c) ...read more.

Conclusion

Evaluation Light energy and some heat energy could have been lost in the surroundings. I could have put heatproof mats around my experiment to prevent heat loss but some heat would still be lost. The beaker that the water was in would have used up some of the heat energy to heat up first before the water. The alcohol containers had different amounts of alcohol in them to start with along with different sizes of wicks. This all adds to the fact that the flame coming from the alcohol was different in size as well so sometimes it might not even be touching the beaker. The room temperature would also cool down things. This was a difficult experiment to do in a classroom because there are lots of different ways of losing heat because everything likes to gain heat energy. If the oxygen supply is low then you get some atoms of carbon let out before they can bond with any oxygen atoms. This creates what we call soot. To prevent this I could make sure there is a proper oxygen supply ...read more.

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