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Whether alcohol is suitable alternative for petrol, and Whether it matters which alcohol we use.

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Introduction Today, the prices of vital commodities derived from oil are increasing, and in particular, the cost of running a petrol driven car is becoming more expensive to do so, and this is all due to the fact that the amount of oil left to be extracted is diminishing. Thus, a suitable alternative is required. One such candidate is gasohol, which is about % alcohol. This is much cleaner than normal petrol, and also makes the petrol last a lot longer. Thus, my objectives, and the purpose of this piece of coursework is to find out: 1) whether alcohol is suitable alternative for petrol, and 2) Whether it matters which alcohol we use. Preparation In order to complete either objective ("whether alcohol is a suitable alternative for petrol?" And; "Does it matter which alcohol we use?"), I need to make sure that I carry out a fair test, which means that I keep all the variables the same except one, which will be the alcohol. I will also need to repeat the experiment 3 times in order to check the accuracy of the experiment. The variables are: 1) the distance the calorimeter is above the flame 2) the amount of water used 3) ...read more.


However, in practice, a proportion of this energy will be lost to the surroundings. In order to verify these theoretical results, I need to make some actual measurements. My experiment is set out in the method. Prediction I predict that as the size of the alcohol molecule increases, so will the amount of energy per mole released. I also predict that ethanol will not release as much energy per mole than petrol. Method Apparatus list: Measuring cylinder Copper calorimeter Crucible & glass wool wick [spirit burner] Heat proof mat Clamp & stand Goggles Alcohols - ethanol, propanol and butanol. I will set up the apparatus as shown, using the above equipment. From my preparation experiments, I know that to achieve the best results, I need to use 50cc's [50ml or 50g] of water, and set the calorimeter at 10cm above the top of the spirit burner, which used a 3.5cm high wick. Before I start the experiment, I will need to weigh the spirit burner with alcohol, so that after I have heated the water 10�C, I can weigh it again, and find the mass of alcohol burnt. I can then put this information into the formula: Mass of water x ? ...read more.


But, these molecules require more energy to get them started. There is also a trend in the balanced formulas for the complete combustion of the alcohols. C2H5OH + 3O2 � 2CO2 + 3H2O C3H7OH + 4.5O2 � 3CO2 + 4H2O C4H9OH + 6O2 � 4CO2 + 5H2O With each extra carbon atom in alcohol molecule, there are two extra hydrogen atoms, and 1.5 extra oxygen molecules are needed to completely combust the alcohol. An extra carbon dioxide and an extra water molecule are also produced. This can be turned into a mathematical formula, thus: CnH2n+1OH + 1.5nO2 � nCO2 + n+1H2O This sort of formula is called an homologous series. Alcohols are a homologous series, and other such series include alkanes, and alkenes. What could I do to make this experiment better? To make this experiment work better, and achieve a higher efficiency, I could do several things. First, I could conduct the experiment inside a sealed container, as this would stop air heated by the combustion of the alcohol escaping. The container could also be silvered (this would stop heat being radiated away), as well as being filled with oxygen, which would ensure that as much of the alcohol was oxidised as possible. I could also use a much cleaner copper calorimeter, as this would ensure a good transfer of energy to the water. Peter Hill 11z GCSE Chemistry Coursework 1 ...read more.

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