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Investigating Energy When Fuels Burn.

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Investigating Energy When Fuels Burn Plan and aim My aim is to find out how much energy is released when different alcohols are burnt. There are many different variables including: * The type of alcohol. * Mass of alcohol in moles. * Mass of water in volume. * The height and shape of the can. * The starting temperature in (C. * The temperature rise of water. My input variable will be different types of alcohol. My output variable is the temperature rise of the water because I need this to be able to calculate the amount of energy released. I will use the following formula to calculate the amount of energy released by each alcohol: ENERGY = Mass of water x 4.2 (specific heat capacity) x temperature rise I will control the mass of fuel, mass of water, height and shape of the can and the starting temperature. I am going to control the other possible variables to make it a fair experiment. If I repeat each alcohol six times, this will allow me to calculate an average. This should help me to notice any odd results. If there are any anomalous results, they will not be included because they will make the average odd. ...read more.


The crucible will have a small piece of mineral wool in with 0.5g of the alcohol. I will then set the alcohol alight and let it burn out. When it has burnt out, I will try to re-light it in case it has been blown out. I will then record the finishing temperature and work out the temperature rise, which will enable me to work out the amount of energy released. Before I begin my experiment, I will run some preliminary tests to figure out how much fuel and water to use. I will also find a suitable height for the can where the temperature rise will be recordable. I am going to use the following alcohols, methanol, ethanol, propanol, butanol, pentanol, hexanol and heptanol. Preliminary tests I had to find out how much alcohol to use what amount of water and how high the can should be from the tabletop. We used 100ml and had the can at 6cm from the tabletop. Amount of fuel (g) Start temp ((C) Finish temp ((C) Temp change ((C) 1 methanol 22 38 16 0.8 methanol 22 33 13 0.5 methanol 22 31 11 I found that 0.5g of methanol was better to use because we need to be able to measure hexanol, which should burn longer, and we will only have enough time if we use 0.5g of fuel. ...read more.


Burning fuels is exothermic reaction, which will always result in energy being lost. Less energy is needed to break the bonds of the alcohol than to make the bonds of the carbon dioxide and water Evaluation The actual results are close to the predicted results, which means that they are quite accurate. The actual results have lost more energy. This could have happened due to the heat loss between the burning fuel and the drinks can. My results follow the trend of more carbons more energy used which supports my conclusions very well. I feel that my experiment was done fairly. The heat loss between the burning fuel and the can was kept the same and to a minimal. The average result for Heptanol wasn't near to the line of best fit. This may have been because the heat loss was greater or not all of it was burnt in a few of the crucibles. To make sure that my experiment is fairer, I will need to minimise the heat loss. Another way would be to weigh the fuel in moles and not grams. This would result in the calculations becoming more accurate and not to decimal places. I could also use the same amount of mineral wool so that alcohol in the very centre can be burnt easily. BY STACEY ROBINSON. ...read more.

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