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Investigating the factors which affect the loss of energy from Alcohols.

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Investigating the factors which affect the loss of energy from Alcohols Aim + Planning: My aim for this experiment is to see the energy produced of different alcohols. I will use a number of different alcohols and try to see which ones give off the most heat and energy. An alcohol is a series of organic and homologous compounds and are just alkanes or alkenes. Alcohols burn in the air to form water and carbon dioxide. The reaction of burning the alcohols is exothermic. This is because heat is given out meaning that the reactants energy is higher than that of what is produced. The energy is given out when forming the bonds between the new water and carbon dioxide molecules. The amount energy given out from an exothermic reaction can be calculated by using the following formula: Mass of substance x rise in temperature x specific heat capacity The specific heat capacity (SHC) is the number of joules it takes to heat up one gram of water by 1�C. I have chosen to use water because it is reliable with a SHC of 4.2, there is plenty of it to use and is also safe to use. The bonds that are formed in an exothermic reaction can be of two types. The first 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.


Finally, it is extremely important that I am sensible through out the whole of the experiment and follow these safety measure correctly and fully so that an accident doesn't occur. Method - I plan to carry out the experiment by using all the safety and fairness issues stated above to give the most accurate and reliable results for each of the alcohols I use. I am going to record the mass of the alcohol and its sprit lamp before and after the after the experiment so I can compare alcohols. I will then set up the experiment as shown in the diagram. The tin container will hold 150ml of water, which will be recorded for its temperature soon before the experiment begins. I will then light the sprit lamp with a wooden splint and then check to see that the flame from the sprit lamp is in contact with the sprit lamp. Once the sprit lamp is lit, I will then start the timer. I will leave the experiment for three minutes. I will then remove the water container from above the sprit lamp, with the glass cap being placed on top of it immediately, and record the temperature of the water once it is stirred. I will then weigh the sprit lamp without the glass cap and record the change in its weight. This procedure will be repeated at least three times for each of my alcohols to ensure that I obtain reliable and accurate results. ...read more.


Based on what I had predicted, the Hexanol alcohol should have produced more heat energy than the Pentanol alcohol. There are many possible reasons as to why the Pentanol alcohol mite not have worked and have produced it anomalous results. It mite have been because the flame was not in contact with the water container, and therefore making the alcohol produce less heat to the water in the container. If the flame was too small, it would have given a low temperature reading to the 150ml of water. The procedure of the experiment was enough for finding out the energy gained from the individual alcohols, but changes could have been made to make the reliability of the results more accurate. Using better and more affective equipment, like an electric thermometer could have done this. Electric thermometers can give readings to two decimal places. I if I were to repeat the investigation, there would be a number of changes and improvements that I would make to the experiment. We could have extended the investigation slightly and used different flame sizes, this would have told us how much the alcohol uses its energy when the flame is increased in its length. I could have also changed the amount of water in the containers, or possibly even use different materials for the containers used, to vary the heat conduction present. Another thing that I could have done, would have been to change the time I was burning the alcohol for, and then check the temperature percentage increase of the water in the container at certain intervals of about a minute. ...read more.

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