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Investigation to compare the heat energy produced by combustion of various Alcohols

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Investigation to compare the heat energy produced by combustion of various Alcohols Aim: To investigate how different alcohols produce different amounts of heat energy through combustion. I will be heating water using different alcohols as fuels and measuring the amount of fuel consumed. From working out how much fuel has been used I can work out how much bond energy has released from the molecules of the alcohol. From those results I will be able to say which alcohol is the best for combustion and which one is the worst to combust. * A good fuel should produce a lot of heat energy and use a small amount of fuel. (economical) * A bad fuel uses a lot of fuel and produces less heat energy. (non-economical) E=mc E= Energy M= mass of water C= Specific heat = Difference in temperature Using this equation I will be able to find out which fuel gives out the most heat energy and use the least amount of fuel. Variables During the experiments the water will be heated using different spirit burners containing different alcohols. I will be able to change different parts of the experiment. These are: * Volume of water heated: Depending on how much water we use depends on how long it takes to heat up. If we heat a large volume of water it will take it longer to heat up, as there will be more molecules for the heat from the spirit burner to give energy to, it will take longer for the water molecules to get enough energy to loosen and break, so the reaction will be slower. ...read more.


H H | | | H - C - C - C - H | | | H H H Butane C H H H H H | | | | H - C - C - C - C - H | | | | H H H H From the data in the table you can see that Butane has the most bonds, then Propane, Ethane and finally Methane with only four bonds. So using my prediction I can work out that Propane and Butane will be the alcohols which use less fuel to heat the water. Butane will be the best fuel as it has 4 carbon particles and 10 hydrogen particles, so between them has 14 bonds which need to be broken and react, which means there will be more energy released so a higher reaction temperature. Plan I will do this experiment in a pair. By working in a pair, means that everything can be done faster, as the jobs can be split. This will keep the time doing the experiment as low as possible, so more time can be spent working writing up our findings Also by working in a pair, it means that some one else is also checking what happens in the experiment so that nothing goes wrong and that all the checks I have set in the 'Variables' are followed and completed, also the step by step instructions written below. For this experiment I need to use: * Spirit burner (with different alcohols in) * Heat proof mat (To make sure the work surface doesn't get burnt or fuel gets split on it) ...read more.


The irrational results I got for propane and butane, I would have liked to have redone the experiment if I had time, because there was a big difference in the results which could have changed the outcome of the whole investigation. To improve the investigation, different fuels could be used. The fuels we used only had small bond structures. If we used fuels with longer bond structures, it would make it clearer how different sized bond structures effect heat energy to fuel consumption. To get bigger difference between the fuel consumption, you could make it for the water to reach boiling point, or 90 c. This would help clearly show the differences. Table of results Fuel Start weight (g) Finish weight (g) Difference (g) Propane 286.62 286.15 0.47 Methane 265.97 265.53 0.44 Ethane 271.50 270.75 0.75 Butane 300.94 300.27 0.67 Propane 237.75 236.91 0.84 Methane 258.33 257.85 0.48 Ethane 199.82 199.34 0.48 Butane 264.40 263.25 1.15 Bond Energies (E=mc ) E(nergy) = M(ass of water) x C(specific heat) x (Difference in temperature) ( j) (kj) 100cm (difference in weight) 10 c Propane:- 1) 100 x 10 x 0.47 = 470j (0.47kj) 2) 100 x 10 x 0.84 = 840j (0.84kj) Average) 100 x 10 x 0.65 = 650j (0.65kj) Butane:- 1) 100 x 10 x 0.67 = 670j (0.67kj) 2) 100 x 10 x 1.15 = 1150j (1.15kj) Average) 100 x 10 x 0.91 = 910 (0.91kj) Methane:- 1) 100 x 10 x 0.75 = 750j (0.75kj) 2) 100 x 10 x 0.48 = 480j (0.48kj) Average) 100 x 10 x 0.615 = 615 (0.615kj) Ethane:- 1) 100 x 10 x 0.44 = 440j (0.44kj) 2) 100 x 10 x 0.48 = 480j (0.48kj) Average) 100 x 10 x 0.46 = 460 (0.46kj) ...read more.

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