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To investigate the energy content of alcohols.

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Introduction

Aim: To investigate the energy content of alcohols. Introduction to Alcohols: Alcohols are a group of compounds whose molecules are chains of carbon atoms. These differ from other types/forms of organic compounds as their molecules contain at least one single oxygen atom joined by a single bound to a carbon atom. This makes alcohols members of a hydroxyl group. Meaning that the oxygen atom is not only joined to the hydrogen atom but the carbon atom also. These carbon atoms form parts of long hydrocarbon chains. My investigation is to research the combustion of alcohols. The general formula for alcohols are C H2 + 10H. Alcohols like another combustible fuels will burn in oxygen or a voluminous supply of air to form the by-products of carbon dioxide and water (vapour). In this experiment I will be comparing heat production in four different members of the alcohol family. These are Ethanol (C H OH), Propan-2-ol (C H OH), Butan-1-ol (C H OH) ...read more.

Middle

I have also chosen to keep the time allowed for the alcohol to burn the same. I have done this because if one alcohol is allowed to burn for one minute but a second alcohol was allowed to burn for five minutes then this would possible result in greater temperature change therefore my experiment unfair test and also making the joules/per mole untrue to the energy content they are potentially capable of. Apparatus: * Test Tube * Clamp Stand * Thermometer * Range of alcohols (Spirit burner) * Stop Watch * Measuring Cylinder (smallest division of 1cm3) * Heat proof mat Diagram of apparatus: Method: Firstly I weighed the spirit burner (and recorded its weight in a table) with the alcohol already inside the spirit burner before I began my experiment. I then measure out 50cm3 of water with a measuring cylinder and them place the test tube in the clamp stand and tightened it gentle. Next I placed the test tube at a height of 3cm to the spirit burner. ...read more.

Conclusion

Evaluation: The results I have obtained from my experiments are fairly accurate. However if I was to do this experiment again I could make it more accurate be changing and modifying certain things. For example instead of just using a test tube above the flame I could use a carilometer to place my test tube inside and therefore reducing heat lose from draughts and lose to the surroundings. I could also do this by making sure there was better insulation to the sides and top of the beaker. This could be done by using a metal (conductor of heat) as a beaker and also adding a lid. This experiment has proved to have many sources of error to help irradiate these I could take a larger range of results. I could also investigate a larger range of alcohols and also the affects of burning them under different temperatures and pressures. ...read more.

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