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Energy density experiment - Aim: To determine the energy density of ethanol

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Introduction

 QUEENSLAND ACADEMY FOR SCIENCE, MATHS AND TECHNOLOGY Physics DCP CE Energy Density Ethanol Francis Nguyen Mr Kann

Aim:

To determine the energy density of ethanol

Background info:

Energy density is the energy stored per unit mass. The higher the energy density, the higher the amount of energy that substance is able to store per unit mass (Rodrigue, 2011). In terms of fuel, it is important to determine the energy density. For example, most alternative fuels have a low energy density which means the cost of transporting these fuels to provide the same amount of energy would be higher (Rodrigue, 2011). The standard, accepted measurement of the energy density of ethanol is approximately 28.6 MJ kg-1 (28,600,000 J kg-1) (King, 2009).

The energy density can be found by initially finding the energy which is being transferred from the fuel to the substance receiving the energy by using the equation, , where  is the mass ,  is the specific heat capacity and  is the change in temperature. The specific heat capacity of water is approximately 4180 J kg-1 K-1 (Nave, 2008). After obtaining the energy, divide by the mass of the fuel burnt to determine the energy density.

Method:

1. Water was measured and weighed on a electronic balance in a beaker. The initial temperature of the water was also recorded.

Middle

E.g. (values from burning 0.5g of ethanol in trial 1)

Table 2. Mass of water

 Amount of ethanol burnt(g ± 0.005g) Trial Mass of water(g ±0.01g) 0.5 1 176.89 2 176.89 3 176.89 1.0 1 176.49 2 176.49 3 176.49 1.5 1 177.06 2 177.06 3 176.97 2.0 1 178.19 2 178.19 3 177.75 2.5 1 174.19 2 173.72 3 174.47

Sample Calculation 2. Calculating  temperature of water:

E.g. (values from burning 0.5g of ethanol in trial 1)

Table 3.  temperature of water:

 Amount of ethanol burnt(g ± 0.005g) Trial temperature of water (oC ± 1oC) 0.5 1 8 2 11 3 10 1.0 1 20 2 17 3 20 1.5 1 29 2 31 3 31 2.0 1 39 2 34 3 39 2.5 1 54 2 53 3 53

Sample Calculation 3. Calculating the amount of energy of ethanol transferred to the water:

Steps:

1. Convert all masses to kilograms
2. Find energy transferred to the water using,

E.g. (values from burning 0.

Conclusion

The combustion reaction was incomplete, meaning that soot was formed and flame is not as strong as it should be. In a incomplete combustion reaction, energy is lost to the soot formed. This error decreases the results that should have been obtained.

Improvements:

As metals are better thermal conductors than glass. By using a metal contain rather than a glass beaker, it may decrease the amount of loss of heat as it is able to accept heat more easily and transfer the energy more quickly. Covering the top of the beaker may also decreases the amount of heat loss as it helps prevents energy from the steam particles to escape.

The distance of between the flame and beaker can be controlled by having a fixed distance between them.

We could also make the combustion complete by providing excess oxygen.

Bibliography

King, B. W. (2009). Ethanol Report. Retrieved from Wiskey and Gunpowder Free Repots: http://whiskeyandgunpowder.com/free-reports/ethanol-report/

Rodrigue, J.-P. (2011). Transportation and Energy. Retrieved from THE GEOGRAPHY OF TRANSPORT SYSTEMS: http://people.hofstra.edu/geotrans/eng/ch8en/conc8en/ch8c2en.html

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