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Energy Transfer in Fuels

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Science Coursework - Energy Transfer in Fuels Planning: Some fuels contain more energy than others. This piece of coursework is about trying to experiment on which fuel (out of a selection) contains the most energy. In class we were shown how to work out the energy transfer from ethanol to water by quite a simple and practical experiment. We were shown how to work out the energy transfer by this formula - Energy Transfer = Mass of Solution x 4.2 x Temperature change Then: Mass of Solution ? Mass Change x Answer Of last Formula The constant value of "4.2" is the specific heat capacity of water in joules per gram per degree Celsius. This is used in every formula as a constant value. So now, I am to prepare a practical, fair-tested experiment, hopefully this is to see which fuel out of a selection contains the most energy. This experiment is to be quite similar to the class experiment, however we are testing various fuels. We were allowed to choose from various fuels, which contained different amounts of carbon atoms, as you could tell this by the name (i.e. ethanol has two carbon atoms, octane has eight carbon atoms and so forth). As I thought it would be good and also fair to pick a selection with a pattern of carbon atoms, which all have an even amount of carbon atoms, therefore I chose - Fuel No. Of Carbon Atoms Chemical Formula Diagram Of Molecules Ethanol 2 C2H5OH Butanol 4 C4H9OH Hexanol 6 C6H14OH Octanol 8 C8H18OH What I am about to do is, test each of these fuels for which one contains the most energy, and which will produce the largest energy transfer to water. ...read more.


Therefore I think that Octanol (8 carbon atoms) will take the least amount of fuel to heat the water to a 20? rise. Obtaining Evidence: Results The initial temperature, final temperature etc, was the same for each fuel, as you will see. As the fuels were at room temperature the all had the same initial temperature. Also we knew at what temperature we were to stop the experiment (at a 20? rise) so the final temperature will be the same as well. Therefore the temperature change is the same for all four fuels. It also shows the mass of the water. This table shows us the masses of all four fuels in the experiment, and the mass change. This is essential for working out the most energy efficient fuel. Fuel Initial Mass (Pre Experiment) (g) Final Mass (Post Experiment) (g) Mass Change (g) Ethanol 109.30 108.42 0.88 Butanol 111.53 110.01 1.52 Hexanol 114.25 113.53 0.72 Octanol 121.36 120.81 0.55 I think that I have made the appropriate amount of observations to prepare an accurate experiment. I have made the necessary observations such as watching the temperature the initial and final masses of the different fuels. This is all for the final formula which tells us which is the best fuel, and which fuel consumes the least amount of it to heat certain things compared to others. For the final answer and final energy transferred this is step 1 of the formula. Here is the formula and working out of the amount of heat transferred to the water. I will be using the constant value of 4.2, which is explained on the first page. ...read more.


I also made sure that the whole experiment would take place in the same position it was before as different parts of the room may have a slight temperature difference, this would make the experiment unfair. I did get an idea for another experiment, which would be adding more carbon dioxide or carbon atoms to certain fuels and see if they become more energy efficient as carbon atoms trap in heat, therefore during the experiment less heat will be able to escape and the temperature change will happen without using excess fuel which is also more economically efficient. To do this I will need to keep the results of this experiment to compare with. As this experiment did not involve any changes to the fuels. However in the next experiment I will do exactly the same test as this one, including the same fuels but I will add carbon dioxide to the fuel before using it in a paraffin burner with a special type of apparatus. I could make the carbon dioxide to put in the fuel by producing an experiment, which will cause an exothermic reaction. Another way is by breathing out into a tube with a bung, which would put more carbon atoms into the fuel, and then I could put the lid on and start the experiment. The task, which I was set out to do, is answered by this coursework and I think answered quite well. Also my prediction was correct and out of Ethanol, Butanol, Hexanol and Octanol, Octanol is the most efficient fuel but probably the most polluting fuel out of the four as it contains the most amount of carbon atoms in it which can cause the green house effect. ...read more.

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