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Do different fuels produce different amounts of energy?

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Do different fuels produce different amounts of energy? Planning I am going to investigate the energy released by burning alcohol. I will try to find out how the carbon atoms in each alcohol vary with the energy release. Alcohols are a series of related organic molecules. The general formula of an alcohol is: n = number of Carbon atoms Alcohols Formula Ethanol C H OH Propanol C H OH Butanol C H OH Pentanol C H OH Hexanol C H OH The complete combustion of an alcohol will produce Carbon Dioxide and Water by reacting with Oxygen. Combustion involves breaking and making chemical bonds. Breaking bonds requires energy input, making bonds releases energy. In exothermic reaction, the reactants has a higher energy level than the products, the difference is given off as heat energy. In endothermic reaction, the reactants has a lower energy level than the product, the difference is the amount of energy taken in from the surroundings. I will need to investigate whether different fuels produce different amount of energy. To do this, I am going to do an experiment. ...read more.


- 61 136.58 134.04 2.54 27 - 62 Pentanol 108.30 107.25 1.05 22 - 57 107.25 105.93 1.32 22 - 57 105.93 104.25 1.68 23 - 58 Hexanol 213.98 212.80 1.18 24 - 59 212.80 211.09 1.71 25 - 60 211.09 210.08 1.01 26 - 61 Alcohols Number of Carbon atoms Molar mass (g) Average mass burned (g) Number of moles burned Ethanol 2 46 2.85 0.062 Propanol 3 60 2.56 0.043 Butanol 4 74 2.09 0.023 Pentanol 5 88 1.35 0.018 Hexanol 6 102 1.30 0.013 No. of moles of burned = mass burned (g) / molar mass Energy = mass of water used x specific heat capacity x temperature rise (j) (kg) J/kg �C (�c) 147j = 1 x 4.2 x 35 Analysis From the first graph (energy against number of carbon atoms), it shows a straight horizontal best-fit line which means all the alcohol gives out the same amount of energy. This is because: Energy = mass of water used x specific heat capacity x temperature rise (j) (g) (�c) The molar mass of the alcohol or the number of carbon atoms does not exist in the formula which means the energy is not affected by the kind of fuel being used. ...read more.


I can also use a wider range of alcohols such as methanol and heptanol to get a wider range of results to support a firm conclusion and give a better graph reading. I can do the experiment in this way: Further experiment Planning Apparatus - Spirit burners (containing methanol, ethanol, propanol, butanol, pentanol, hexanol, heptanol) - Heat proof mats - Clamps and stands - Copper water container - Electronic balance ( 2 decimal places) - Thermometer - Measuring cylinder Safety control - I have to wear goggles, prevent any accidents that can damage my eyes - I have to make sure all the school bags are under the table, in case it trips me over - I have to make sure I handle all the glassware carefully Method 1. Set up the experiment as the diagram shows 2. Weigh and record the spirit burner's weight 3. Put the spirit burner back to position and light it 4. When the temperature of the water has increased by 35 �c, put the fire off 5. Weigh and record the spirit burner's weight 6. Repeat the experiment three times with each alcohol 7. Plot graph (energy against number of carbon atoms, number of moles burned against carbon atoms) 8. Draw best-fit line ...read more.

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