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To measure the energy released by 1g of fuel from a series of alcohols which represent hydrocarbons.

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Burning Fuels Investigation Aim: To measure the energy released by 1g of fuel from a series of alcohols which represent hydrocarbons. Diagram: Fair test: The independent variable is the type of fuel I will be using. I will be controlling the following variables: * The same amount of water-150 cm( * The same length of wick- 0.5cm * The same burn time- 3 minutes * The same size can * The Height of can above flame * The room temperature * The alcohol must be up to the wick on all the test otherwise it is unfair. Method: 1. Set up the experiment as shown in the diagram. 2. Weigh the mass of the fuel before it is burnt using the mass balance. 3. Check the temperature of the water using a alcohol thermometer. 4. Light the fuel for 3 minuets. 5. Weigh the fuel again and calculate the mass burnt. 6. Measure the temperature and calculate the temperature rise. 7. Repeat again twice to get a fair test. Use this equation to find out the energy released per g for all the fuels. Risk assessment: The alcohols are flammable and vaporise easily. Only take the cap off when necessary and wear goggles. Take care when handing the fuels and wash your hands if the fuel is spilt yourself. ...read more.


When the temperature was measured some groups used alcohol thermometer and some used digital. This meant the accuracy were different. The alcohol thermometer had a accuracy of 0.5 to the nearest centigrade, where as the digital thermometer had a accuracy of 0.05 the nearest centigrade. The digital thermometer gave a much more accurate reading. This could have affected the results because when we were taking the average results it would not have been as good as could have been and when it came to calculating the energy released would not be as accurate as it should be. The water was measured with an 100ml measuring cylinder which has a accuracy of 0.5 to the nearest centimetre. If the water was not the same amount each time the results could be slightly inaccurate which is why we take a average. If the water was over 150ml the temperature reading would be lower than it should because it would take longer to heat the water in three minutes because there is a bigger mass to heat. We could have uses a smaller measuring cylinder such as a 25ml which would have a accuracy 0.25 to the nearest centimetre. When we weighed the mass of the fuel the mass was very accurate and had a accuracy of 0.005. ...read more.


You could insulate the can and the clamps. Incomplete combustion is another problem where there is a restricted supply of oxygen and the alcohol was burning with an orange flame rather than blue. The fuels that we burnt were alcohols which represented hydrocarbons. These consist of only hydrogen and carbon atoms. When they were burnt carbon was given off because there is incomplete combustion so it does not all completely convent to carbon dioxide and forms on the steel can. Carbon is a non-metal which means it is a insulator, this is stopping the energy transfer from the fuel to the water. Conduction and convection are ways heat can escape through the air. The insulator around the can will cut this down. Our results were very low compare to the book of data so energy is being lost. This means we must improve the method to try and achieve hundred percent combustion. I will modify the original plan by: 1. Set up the calorimeter as shown in the diagram below. Weigh the mass of the fuel before it is burnt using the mass balance. 2. Check the temperature of the water using a digital thermometer. 3. Start the reaction by igniting the fuel with an electric spark. 4. Check the temperature after 3 minutes and calculate the temperature rise. 5. Weigh the fuel again and calculate the mass burnt. 6. Repeat again twice to get a fair test. Diagram: ...read more.

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