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Determining the specific heat of three metals

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Physics portfolio

Determining the specific heat of three metals

Day to start:Thursday, September 06,2007

                    Due day: Thursday, September 06,2007


                       The kilmore international school

                       11 B

Method of mixtures:

 When different parts of an isolated system are at different temperatures, heat will flow from the part of higher temperature to the part of lower temperature.

Therefore, from conservation of energy:

 Heat lost by hot object = Heat gained by cold object.


This experiment is conducted in order to determine the specific heats of three different metals using the method of mixtures.

Method of this experiment :

  1. Measure the mass of the three different supplied cubic metals. (copper ,Lead ,Aluminum).
  2. Heat the supplied cubic masses of metal in boiling water and record the temperature.
  3. Place some cold water into a separate container of known mass, so that this is enough to just cover the cubic masses. Record the mass and temperature of the water.
...read more.


The average specific heat of

zinc =(270.833+283.375+295.556)/3=283.255image01.pngimage02.png


So the percentage of error is:|(283.255-380)/380|×100%=25.46%


Trial 1

Trial 2

Trial 3

Mass of Al(m1)    ±0.001kg




Mass of empty cup(m2) ±0.001kg




Mass of cup with water(m3) ±0.001kg




Temperature of cold water(T1) ±0.1℃




Temperature of metal with object(T2) ±0.1℃





in  equilibrium (T3) ±0.1℃




the Aluminum : cm(T3-T2) = Cold water: cm(T3-T1)

Trial 1:


M(water)=M3-M2=0.046-0.002=0.044kg (±0.001kg)


C(Al)=924 image01.pngimage02.png

Trial 2:


m(water)= 0.042-0.002=0.040kg (±0.001kg)



Trial 3:

M(water)=m3-m2=0.041 kg (±0.

...read more.


when we use thermometer sometimes it touched the bottom of the beaker. So the temperature of metal will be hotter.


We got the Parallax error during measure the temperature of using thermometer. Because if we not parallel with the top of the mercury in the thermometer, it will makes the result to be a little bit different. But not affect a lot.


1. When you put the hot metal into the container of the cold water, you must be careful not to let the metal touch the container and make the container be occluded immediately so that the heat can be transfer into the cold water.

2 The big problem is the heat losing on the way that the metal is transferred into the container of the cold water. But I think if we can do this experiment in vacuum the heat lost will be decrease and the data we collected will more and more close to the data in theory.

...read more.

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