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Experiment to Measure the Heat of Fusion of Ice

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Diana Herwono D 0861 006

Physics HL Lab Report:

Experiment to Measure the Heat of Fusion of Ice

Title:         Experiment to Measure the Heat of Fusion of Ice


The aim of the experiment is to measure the heat of fusion of ice. This is the amount of heat energy needed to change one gram of ice at its melting point (0°C) into one gram of water at the same temperature.


Calorimeter, balance, set of metric basses, thermometer, warm water, ice, paper towels


When a substance changes state, it absorbs or releases a large quantity of heat. During the change of state, the temperature remains constant. The quantity of heat required to change a

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  1. Then immediately add several cubes of ice that have been dried with paper towels.
  1. Continue stirring slowly until all ice has melted and the mixture reaches a steady temperature. Record the temperature of the ice-water mixture (T2).

5.        Obtain the mass of the calorimeter and the mixture (mc + w + i).

6.       Use these data to calculate the heat of fusion of ice.

Data Collection:

Trial 1

Trial 2

Mass of Calorimeter mc (g)



Specific Heat of Calorimeter cc (J/g°C)



Mass of Calorimeter and Warm Water mc + w (g)



Mass of Warm Water mw (g)

mw = mc + w – mc



Specific Heat of Water cw (J/g°C)



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 = (20181 – 33.4*4.19*43) / 33.4 = 424 J/g

Average Value Hf = (454 + 424) / 2 = 439 J/g

Error Analysis:

The accepted value for the heat of fusion of ice is 334 J/g.

Percent Error = (439 - 334) x 100 / 334

=  31.4 %

Sources of error: Some heat is lost to the environment because the calorimeter is not a perfect insulator.


According to this experiment, the heat of fusion of ice is 439 J/g. However, the accepted value for the heat of fusion of ice is 334 J/g. There is obviously some error in this experiment.

Future Improvements:

To limit the heat lost to the environment, better apparatus should be used (i.e. better insulating materials for the calorimeter). Using larger quantities of ice and water and conducting the experiment repeatedly would eventually cause errors to have a smaller effect on the result, such that the result of the experiment approaches the accepted value.

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