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To compare the efficiency of different alcohols as fuel sources

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Tom Stathers 11law At1 Chemistry: Using alcohols as fuel sources Aim To compare the efficiency of different alcohols as fuel sources Background knowledge Alcohols are a closely related group of molecules that can be used as fuel sources, for example spirit burners to provide light and heat. One of the alcohols to be tested is ethanol, which is made from fermented sugar. All alcohols belong to a chemical family the general formula is CH + OH When any fuel burns it releases heat energy into the surroundings. (exothermic reaction as it releases heat energy). When Alcohol Burns it releases Co2 and H20. To make fuel burn you need to supply it with heat. The heat breaks up the molecules into atoms. When the Fuel is burnt the atoms join together to make new bonds. I will be testing ethanol, methanol, butanol and propanol to see which is the most efficient. To do this I need to find out how much energy has been burnt in the reaction. I will work out the heat of combustion as shown below. The example I have worked out is butanol. ...read more.


(2min) This is a list of the things I will keep the same: * The alcohol in the spirit burner e.g. methanol, Ethanol, butanol, propanol) * The amount of alcohol is specific to each burner used Apparatus * Clamp * Copper Beaker * Clamp stand * Boss * Spirit burner x4 * Heat proof mat * 100cm3 measuring cylinder * Water * Stop clock * Weighing scales * Thermometer * Bunsen burner * Splint Diagram Method 1. Set up equipment like in the diagram 2. Measure 100cm3 of water in the measuring cylinder and pour it into the copper calorimeter 3. Record the temperature of the water 4. Choose a spirit burner; make a note of the alcohol inside and the mass with the lid on. Light the spirit burner and place under it under the copper beaker 5. Stir the water gently all the way through the experiment with the thermometer 6. After 2 minutes record the temperature of the water and the mass of the spirit burner with the lid and fuel (Note the timing is incorporated into my experiment because I lost my results and I could only get one from another science group. ...read more.


Ways of improving my experiment * To make me results more accurate I could use more accurate equipment and make sure only the variables alter only (alcohols and water). * Keeping the distances exactly the same between the burner and the copper beaker. I could have use a sort of shield around the spirit burner and the copper beaker, which would have kept the heat from the burner directly concentrated on the copper baker giving a much more accurate reading. * I could have tested more alcohols and different structure types e.g. (butanol isomer 2 and propanol structure 2) this would have given me a chance to see if any other alcohols are better or worse than the ones I have tested * I also could have tried altering the water levels this might have produced different results. I could also have investigated other factors that affect the heat of combustion such as length of the wick. These factor could all be written into or improved on in experiments to come NOTE : The timing is incorporated into my experiment because I lost my results and I could only get one from another science group. Who used timing in their experiment) ...read more.

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