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Specific Heat Capacity

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Physics Coursework Plan Aim: In this coursework, I aim to investigate the effect of density on the specific heat capacity of a metal. In order to do this I will carry out an experiment to find the specific heat capacity of each metal and I will then find the density of each. Specific Heat Capacity: The specific heat capacity of a substance is the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of 1kg the substance by 1oC, or by 1K. This can be found by calculation using the equation, c = __Q__ m?T where c is the specific heat capacity of the substance, Q is the energy given to, and used by the substance, m is its mass and ?T is the temperature change. Specific heat capacity, in elements, varies depending on the element due to the different molar masses of the different elements. Heat energy is as a result of the kinetic energy of the atoms or molecules in the substance, or the number of particles vibrating. As, at a given temperature, the average kinetic energy of atoms or molecules in any substance will be the same, specific heat capacity depends on the potential energy of the substance. If a substance has a lighter atomic mass, it has more potential energy as it will contain more atoms, or molecules, that are able to store heat energy. The energy 'given' to the substance is used to raise the internal energy of the substance and so if the substance has more potential energy, it will require more energy as the energy needs to change the potential energy of all of the molecules into kinetic energy to raise its temperature. Therefore, elements with lighter molar masses have higher specific heat capacities. This can be seen by the fact aluminium has a much greater specific heat capacity than many metals such as iron and copper, at 900Jkg-1K-1, as it has a much lighter molar mass. ...read more.


I then placed a measuring cylinder at the end of the tube leading from the displacement can and placed a block into it. The volume of the block is equal to the volume of water collected in the measuring cylinder. I then refilled the displacement can and repeated the experiment for each other block. The results for this experiment are shown in the table below: Metal Lead Aluminium Brass Iron Mass (kg) 0.58319 0.17300 0.15040 0.46668 Volume (dm3) 0.053 0.065 0.018 0.062 These values can be put into the equation ? = _m_ V to find the density of each metal. Using this equation, I calculated the density of each metal as shown below: The densities found are shown in the table below: Metal Density (kg dm-3) Lead 11.0 Aluminium 2.66 Brass 8.36 Iron 7.53 The next table shows the correct densities of the four metals: Metal Density (kg dm-3) Lead 11.34 Aluminium 2.70 Brass 8.60 Iron 7.87 This shows that the values I obtained from this experiment were quite close to the correct densities. Using these values, I calculated the percentage error of each value. This shows a small percentage error of approximately 3% and so this is an appropriate method to use for my final experiment. Final Experiment In this experiment I need to find the density and specific heat capacity of four metal blocks. I will then use the values I obtain in the experiment to determine the relationship between specific heat capacity and density. Apparatus required: Metals (minimum 150g) (A) Metal beaker (B) Copper calorimeter (C) Insulation (for example a felt casing for the calorimeter) (D) Copper stirrer (E) Tripod Bunsen burner Gauze Top pan balance String Stop watch Thermometer Displacement can 100cm3 measuring cylinder I will firstly weigh the metal block A, fill the displacement can with water until it is just overflowing and allow the water to stop flowing. ...read more.


3. Amount of water The volume of water affects how much the temperature raise is and so should be kept as constant as possible to allow my results to be as reliable as possible. I will regulate this by keeping the level of water in the beaker to a similar level so that there is not too large a difference between volumes. 4. Thermometer The values for the temperatures are very significant to my final results and therefore differences in accuracy could bring the validity of my results into question. I will regulate this by using the same thermometer for every temperature taken so that any inaccuracies are the same for every repeat. 5. Boiling time The longer the metal block is in the boiling water, the more time it has to heat up and hence gain kinetic energy. If one block is allowed to get hotter than the others, it will have more energy to 'give' to the water, thus resulting in an increased temperature raise which would be incorrect in the context of the overall experiment. I will use a stopwatch to accurately measure the time that the metal block is in the boiling water so that I can keep the time constant for each experiment. Safety: As i will be using boiling water in this experiment, I will where a lab coat and safety goggles to protect my eyes and skin from any boiling water that may be spilt. I will also tie my hair back as I am using a bunsen burner and do not want to risk my hair falling into the flame. If any water is spilt during the course of the experiment, I will mop it up straight away to ensure noone slips on it and I will ensure that the string attached to the metal blocks does not hang over the edge of the table as it could get knocked of and the blocks could fall. ...read more.

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