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Comparing fuels

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Comparing fuels Plan In this investigation I will be burning alcohols to heat up a test tube of water. I will be burning five alcohols, methanol, ethanol, propanol, butanol and pentanol. The aim is to find out how much energy is produced when burning these alcohols. Alcohols react with oxygen in the air to form water and carbon dioxide. When hydrocarbons are burnt they are oxidized, meaning carbon dioxide and water is made. The reaction that is involved in burning alcohols is exothermic because heat is given out. Form this reason the reactant energy is higher than that of the product. The energy is given out when forming the bonds between the new water and carbon dioxide molecules. The amount of energy made by exothermic reactions like this can be worked out by using the formula Heat J = temp rise ?C X Mass water g X 4.2 J/g?C. The bonds that are made in an exothermic reaction can be two types. It could be ionic, where a metal is produced. Ionic bonding involves electrons transferring from one atom to the other consequently leaving an electrostatic force between them. The other form of bonding is covalent where atoms share electrons to complete their outer orbit. ...read more.

Middle

So the longer the molecular structure in the alcohol the more energy it will take to remove the bonds. So I believe that pentanol will use more energy than methanol because it has more bonds to break. Bonds Analysis First of all I will calculate the amount of energy evolved. I will achieve this by using this simple formula... Energy evolved = temp rise ?C x mass water g x 4.2 j/g ?C Energy evolved = ............. x 20cm cubed x 4.2 Type of alcohol Energy evolved in (j) Energy evolved in (j) Methanol = 1 min = 134400. 2 min = 480480 Ethanol = 1 min = 144480. 2 min = 481488 Butanol = 1 min = 436800. 2min = 772800 To find out how much energy is produced per gram we use the formula... Energy per gram of fuel = Energy evolved x Mass of fuel burnt Energy per gram of fuel = ......... x ......... Below is a table showing how much energy is produced per gram when burning the alcohols in question... Type of alcohol Energy per gram Methanol = 1 min = 84672. 2 min = 4564560 Ethanol = 1 min = 621264. ...read more.

Conclusion

If the oxygen supply is very limited then you get some atoms of carbon released before they can bond with any oxygen atoms. This is soot. Since heat is given out when bonds form, less energy is given out by incomplete combustion. So this is why it affects the outcome of the experiment. To overcome this problem, I would have to make sure a sufficient supply of oxygen was involved in the reaction. BUTANOL: TIME 1 MINUTE Experiment 1 2 3 Amount of water 20cm 20cm 20cm Temperature of water before 20?C 20?C 20?C Temperature of water after 39?C 30?C 30?C Temperature of water rise 19?C 10?C 10?C Butanol weight before 126.78 126.15 125.60 Butanol weight after 126.15 125.60 124.91 Fuel loss 0.63 0.55 0.69 Test tube height 12cm 12cm 12cm BUTANOL: TIME 2 MINUTES Experiment 1 2 3 Amount of water 20cm 20cm 20cm Temperature of water before 20?C 20?C 20?C Temperature of water after 45?C 39?C 45?C Temperature of water rise 25?C 19?C 25?C Butanol weight before 124.88 122.83 120.91 Butanol weight after 123.54 121.33 119.46 Fuel loss 1.34 1.50 1.45 Test tube height 12cm 12cm 12cm AVERAGES: WATER TEMPERATURE RISE: (TIME 1 MINUTE) 13?C (TIME 2 MINUTES) 23?C FUEL LOSS: (TIME 1 MINUTE) 0.62 (TIME 2MINUTES) 1.43 ...read more.

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