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Which Alcohol is the Best Fuel?

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Investigation - Which Alcohol is the Best Fuel? In my investigation, I will be trying to decide which alcohol is best to use as a fuel from a selection of five different choices. These are: - Methanol - Ethanol - Propanol - Butanol - Pentanol And to do so I will be using the following apparatus: Spirit burner with the respective fuel - Clamp - Tin can - 100cm3 of water - Thermometer - Polystyrene insulating lids - Stopwatch - Scales - Source of ignition such as matches I will be sure to use goggles in my investigation as a safety precaution. My method is as follows. Firstly, I will weigh and record the mass of each of the fuels named above. Then, I shall fill up the tin can with 100 cm3 of water, and place it in the clamp, directly above the fuel. I will also need to measure the temperature of the water. Next I will put the polystyrene insulating lid on the tin can, with a thermometer sticking through the middle. ...read more.


Essentially (m x c) was always equal to 418. However the change in temperature was always different. It was calculated by simply taking away the initial temperature from the end temperature. For example: Butanol: Q = (100 x 4.18) x (48 - 24) Q = 418 x 24 Q = 10032 To make it easier, I will measure the energy in kJ (kilo joules). So Butanol produced 10.032 kJ of energy. After having calculated all the results, I added the value of Q per each fuel to the table like so: Alcohol Initial Mass (g) Initial Temp �C ? Mass (g) End Temp �C Value of "Q" (kJ) Butanol 227.1 24 1.3 48 10.032 Methanol 205.8 24 3.2 45 8.778 Pentanol 219.7 24 1.2 53 12.122 Propanol 225 24 1.3 58 14.212 Ethanol 184.7 24 1.6 47 9.614 So from this table I can see that the best fuel from this selection based on a time span of 2 minutes is Propanol, as it produced 14.212 kJ. ...read more.


Now what we have from the table is the most time efficient and weight efficient fuels. Amazingly, Propanol is the most time and weight efficient fuel. In fact, none of the fuels changed position in how efficient they were. For both criteria, the fuels were ordered as follows: Best: Propanol Pentanol Butanol Methanol Worst: Ethanol Yet, is this all I can find out about the fuels? To be honest, the answer is no. I would have liked to measure the amounts of carbon dioxide emitted by each fuel, and judged which was best for the environment per gram of fuel used. Moreover, it would have been good to also compare each fuel to its price, and to see which fuel was most cost effective. In terms of the practical part of the investigation, I am confident that the experiment was carried out fairly and properly, as my results seems to be solid. However, there is always room for improvement, and I think that if I used more accurate equipment, and repeated the experiment more times, my results could have been marginally more accurate. ?? ?? ?? ?? Bruno Crosier 11A. 1 of 5 ...read more.

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