• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Measuring the Specific Heat Capacity of Water

Extracts from this document...


Measuring the Specific Heat Capacity of Water Plan The experiment being performed is to find out the specific heat capacity of water. The specific heat capacity of a substance is the heat energy needed to raise the temperature of 1kg of the substance by 1 Kelvin, or degree. We already know that the formula for the specific heat capacity is (voltage x current x time)/(mass x temperature rise), so this is the formula we will use. The first part of the formula (VIT), is basically the amount of energy going into the water, and that is divided by the second part of the formula (M?Q), which is the amount of energy that the water receives and makes the temperature rise. When you put them together, you get the formula: VIT M?Q The units of specific heat capacity are Joules/Kg/oC, meaning the amount of energy (Joules), to cause a rise in temperature of 1kg by 1 degree. There are many factors that may affect the accuracy of the experiment. For a start, there will be a lot of heat loss through: 1) the sides of the beaker (via conduction). 2) the surface of the water (via radiation and convection). 3) the actual sides of the heater, because the whole heater is not in the water (via convection and radiation). These factors are very important because it means that not all of the heat is going into the water, so it may change our final result. ...read more.


I predict that our result for the specific heat capacity of water will be around 4600J/kg/OC. I know already that the specific heat capacity of water is supposed to be 4200J/kg/OC, but I am taking the heat loss into account. I would have predicted a higher value if it was not for 2 reasons: 1) We are not using pure water, but tap water, and when salts are present, the specific heat capacity of water decreases slightly. 2) During the experiment, some of the water will evaporate. We have not studied specific heat capacity in great detail before this experiment, but we were taught the formula. Our previous work on heat transfer helped me, and I also used the text book 'The World of Physics' by John Avison. Results 1st Time: Time(sec) Temp (C) Current Voltage 0 19 4.9 11.72 60 21 4.9 11.72 120 23 4.9 11.72 180 24 4.9 11.72 240 25 4.9 11.72 300 29 4.9 11.72 Mass water= 0.40144kg C= VIT/M x change in temp 11.72 x 4.9 x 300/ 0.40144 x 10= 4292J/kg/OC 2nd Time: Time(sec) Temp (C) Current Voltage 0 27 4.9 11.34 60 29 4.9 11.34 120 31 4.9 11.34 180 32 4.9 11.34 240 34 4.9 11.34 300 36 4.9 11.34 Mass water= 0.40154kg C= VIT/M x change in temp 11.34 x 4.9 x 300/ 0.40154 x 9= 4613J/kg/OC 3rd Time: Time(sec) ...read more.


I think that if I had the opportunity to do the experiment again, I would not. That is because I feel that we performed the experiment to an acceptable level of accuracy. However, I would perform a slightly different experiment that may produce even more accurate results. Here are the things I would change: ? I would wrap the beaker in cotton wool or something, so it insulates the beaker and prevents so much heat loss through the beaker, via conduction. ? I may use a different container for a beaker, made out of a material that does not conduct heat so well, another way of reducing heat loss. ? I would place the heater fully in the water, so no part of it is in the air, to reduce heat loss from the heater, via convection and radiation. ? I would put some form of lid on top of the beaker, to reduce heat loss from the surface of the water via radiation and convection. All these changes would reduce heat loss, and cause the value of specific heat capacity lower, so make it more like what it should be. Overall, I think our result was as good as it could be expected with the method of the experiment that we used. However, I think it would be interesting if we could perform a slightly different experiment, without the flaws in method of this one, and I am sure our result would be very accurate. Faizal Patel 02/05/07 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Aqueous Chemistry section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Aqueous Chemistry essays

  1. Rate of heat loss

    many times the material has been wrapped around the vessel will determine how fast the heat transfer is. If it has been wrapped around several times then the insulator will work better than if it has only been wrapped around only once.

  2. Heat loss

    As the water vapour will not be able to escape into the air as quickly as it would normally keeping the heat in for longer. If I insulate the can with different materials then it will slow down the heat loss, but I cannot stop it.

  1. Water and Ice- To determine the specific heat capacity of water (a) and the ...

    Step 8 was repeated until the thermometer had shown 10? increase. Readings of the voltmeter and ammeter were taken again. 10. Power supply switched off. Results: Data recorded during experiment Experimental value Mass of aluminum calorimeter 30.9 g Mass of water 100 g Initial voltage reading 2.6 V Initial ammeter reading 2 A Initial temperature of water 42?

  2. Specific Heat Capacity

    heat capacity as it will have less potential energy that needs to be raised to increase the temperature. Preliminary Experiment 1- Finding specific heat capacity using an electrical method. In this experiment, I will test an electrical method for determining specific heat capacity to determine whether or not it is accurate enough to be used for my final experiment.

  1. Specific Heat Capacity

    I will be doing a preliminary run, which will help me to determine which aspects of my experiment will need to be changed Diagram Method 1. Put on a pair of safety goggles, clear worktop of books and tie longhair back. 2. Get all the apparatus needed for the experiment.

  2. What factors affect the temperature change of water when heated by an electric heater?

    we must make sure that it is safe because if water and electricity combine they could have hazardous effects. All the wires must be checked for any loose covering, to reduce the chance of an electric shock. All connections must be done properly to make the experiment safe.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work