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Investigation into the temperature rise of water when heated by an electric immersion heater (plan)

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Investigation into the temperature rise of water when heated by an electric immersion heater Plan: Introduction and aim: In this investigation I am aiming to find out how changing the time an immersion heater is under water for, will affect the temperature of that water due to the amount of energy the water particles will have. An immersion heater transfers electrical energy from the power supply into thermal energy. It will then pass that thermal energy to its surroundings, in this case, the water particles I am planning to heat. The water particles close to the heater will then have more thermal energy than before so will vibrate quicker, colliding more often with other water particles and passing the thermal energy onto them. As time goes by, and the water particles gain more thermal energy from the immersion heater, I will be measuring the temperature of the water at regular intervals to determine actually how time does affect the temperature. Safety: Although I am not working with chemicals that could damage skin or eyes, (which is why it wont be necessary for me to wear goggles or a lab coat,) I will be working with electricity and handling glass which is why I plan to take a number of precautions to ensure that my investigation is safe. - I will not touch any of the electrical components with wet hands to avoid electrocuting myself - I will ensure my bag is under the desk so I don't trip over it - I will take care when handling the glass (i.e. ...read more.


On the power supply that I am provided with, it is easy to change voltage to a certain number and then keep it constant so this is what I will do. Because of the fluctuation in voltage that I had in my pilot study I have planned to check the voltage every minute and readjust it if it has changed slightly so that it is constantly 10 volts. This will keep the current constant all the way through my investigation too. Also, I will keep the circuit and the wires used in it the same because I want to keep resistance constant. Voltage = current resistance so if I change resistance then voltage will be affected which in turn will effect the energy. As I just explained, current and voltage must be kept constant in order to keep the only factor affecting energy as time, my controlled variable. Another factor that will effect my investigation is volume of water. This is because if there are more water particles at any time it will take longer for the thermal energy to be passed to those particles so overall it will take longer to heat-up. I will therefore keep the volume of water constant at 200ml. I have chosen this volume because this beaker size is deep enough for the immersion heater to be mostly underwater and there is enough space to stir as well. However if I had a larger volume of water, the temperature change each minute would be quite low for the reason I described above. ...read more.


Lastly, when reading the temperature, it will be at eye level to avoid parallax errors, as well as from a thermometer with degree C markings. Pilot study: The main alteration from my pilot study is the voltage. During my pilot study this was 7 volts yet I found that the temperature sometimes didn't even increase by a whole degree each minute. Therefore I increased the voltage to 10. This made the temperature increase each minute easier to determine which is why I am using this voltage for my investigation. When calculating the increase in power when I altered this voltage, I realised I had doubled the power from 17.5 watts to 35 watts, this doubling the amount of energy the particles had each minute. (Because power = current voltage and when voltage was 7V, current was 2.5A so power was 7 2.5 = 17.5Watts, yet when voltage was 10V, current was 3.5A, so power was 10 3.5 = 35Watts.) I therefore learnt that only an increase of 3 volts doubled the power so during my investigation I am planning to be very careful about keeping the voltage the same - even a slight difference could effect my results, making them unreliable. From my pilot study I also learnt that the starting temperature of the water (at 0 minutes, before the heater is lowered into the water) wasn't always the same. This is why I have decided to calculate the temperature rise from this starting temperature when doing my investigation, and I will plot my graph using this. ...read more.

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