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"My aim is to find out how much energy is released when burning different types of crisps and to find which one releases the most energy."

Extracts from this document...


My Aim

“My aim is to find out how much energy is released when burning different types of crisps and to find which one releases the most energy.”



Hula Hoops

French fries

Peak Potatoes

34 g/100g of fat = 2200kJ/100g of


28.1g/100g of fat = 2106kJ/100g of energy

17g/100g fat= 1800kJ/100g

2.5g/100g of fat., 1456kJ/100g





The Preliminary Experiment

The preliminary experiment we had to record the amount of energy released.

I had to burn two different types of pasta and then put it under a test tube of 25cm of water. I did this experiment for practice before I did the crisp experiment. We also collected variables, fair testing points, and risk assessment from this experiment.

The variables that will affect the way the experiment works are:

  • Amount of water -
  • Amount of food – The more food the more energy will be released.
  • Glass thickness – Effects how much heat gets to the water.
  • Size of food – Size of food affects how much energy in crisp so need to be weighed each time.
  • Distance from food and test tube – Distance of food from test tube effects amount of energy lost.
  • Types of crisp- Different crisps have different amounts of fat content which effects energy released.
  • Crisp breaking off – Waste of fat content.
  • How much food is burnt before putting it under test tube – heat loss.
  • How much food is burnt.
  • How long it takes to set alight (energy lost)

The variables I will keep the same to make it a fair test will be the amount of water, which will be 20cm. The glass thickness, how much food is burnt before putting it under test tube- to make this fair we will move the crisp as soon as its alight.


I set up the apparatus like the diagram beneath.

We got 3 samples of 1 type of crisp to start with and recorded the weight of the first crisp, then put 20cm of water in the test tube and recorded the temperature. We held the first crisp in the flame and as soon as it’s alight we held it directly under the test tube with tweezers. We then stirred the water and recorded the temperature again after the flame on the crisp had died. With the two temperatures we were able to work out the change in temp. To do this experiment to the next sample we had to change the water and allow the test tube to cool down, and weigh the next crisp. We had to do this before each sample of crisp type; we did 4 crisp types in total. We got an average for each crisp type by adding up the results from the 3 samples and dividing it by 3.

I predict that the crisp with the higher fat content will produce the most amount of energy when burnt.I predict that Walkers will produce the most amount of energy because there crisps have the highest fat content at 34g/100g.  I think that the crisp sample with the least amount of energy released will be Peak Potato because its fat content is 2.5g/100g.  I predict this because the more fat in the crisps the more energy for our body therefore more energy to release when burnt.

Fair testing points

  • Make sure the thermometer and test tube have cooled down before doing next crisp.
  • Make sure it’s on the same flame all the time.
  • Make sure its the same amount of water all the time (20cm )
  • Make sure the Bunsen burner isn’t too close to the test tube.
  • Stir the water before taking the temperature.
  • Always weigh the crisp each time.
...read more.


Accuracy and reliability

This experiment is fairly accurate but not 100%. To prove the reliability of the experiment we decided to do 3 trials of each crisp type and set to an average.

The reliability is good also if you make sure it’s a fair test.


  1. Crisp type: Cheese and Onion French Fries.

Trial no:





Mass of crisps (g)





Starting temp

( c)

25 c

22 c

23 c

 23.3 c

Final temp ( c)

32 c

26 c

28 c

28.6 c

Change in temp ( c)

7 c

4 c

5 c

5.3 c

  1. Crisp type: Sea salt & Balsamic vinegar Peak potato crisps.

Trial no:





Mass of crisps (g)





Starting temp ( c)

21 c

22 c

22 c

21.6 c

Final temp ( c)

25 c

29 c

25 c

19.6 c

Change in temp ( c)

4 c

7 c

3 c

4.6 c


  1. Crisp type: Ready Salted Hula Hoops

Trial no:





...read more.


The manufacturer most likely used a calorimeter to measure the energy value in their crisps. This would have been tested many times under very controlled circumstances. In a calorimeter, all the heat given off by the food is transferred to a known quantity of water, which rises in temperature. It takes 4.2 joules of heat to raise the temperature of 1g of water by 1oc.

I think I have anomalous results because of the way I held the walkers crisp as it is the only odd one; I think that maybe where the tweezers were holding the crisp. The results on my graph are meant to go up in a straight line but it doesn’t as the Walkers crisps result is out of place.

From my results I can see my prediction is heading in the right way. The crisps with the highest fat content are Hula Hoops with 34g and I predicted that this would have the highest amount of released energy which would be true if my Walkers results were correct.  

...read more.

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