Investigation into the energy produced per mole when burning different alcohols to heat up water.

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Investigation into the energy produced per mole when burning

different alcohols to heat up water.


The aim of this investigation is to find out how much energy is produced per mole of alcohol when burning the alcohol to heat up water to a certain temperature rise.


5 Alcohol Burners:






Bunsen Burner,


Wooden Board,

Safety Glasses,

200ml beaker,



Clamp Stand,



Measuring Cylinder,


Set up all the equipment as shown above. First weigh the alcohol burner, so that the amount of alcohol that has been burnt can be worked out after the experiment has been carried out. Then fill up the beaker with 100mls of water, using the measuring cylinder for greater accuracy. The water used will always be around room temperature, because it is from the tap. Place the alcohol burner on to the wooden board next to the clamp stand, and then attach the beaker with water in, to the clamp stand, directly above the

alcohol burner and 15cm from the board, and put the thermometer into the water.

Now record the temperature of the water. It should be around 20°C, because that is the normal room temperature. Now light the Bunsen burner. Using the splint, light the first alcohol burner, which is methanol. Let the flame from the alcohol burner, burn until the temperature of the water has risen 40°C from the original temperature. Now put out the flame, and weigh the burner to calculate the amount of alcohol that was burnt during the experiment.

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Do this experiment again for each of the alcohols up to pentanol, every time changing the water, and washing off any soot (carbon) on the beaker that may have been caused by incomplete combustion, which is when there is a restricted supply of oxygen, and some of the alcohol does not burn completely, giving carbon and carbon monoxide rather than carbon dioxide.

Repeat this complete experiment with all the alcohols three times for good accuracy. Now work out how much alcohol was burnt during each separate test, by taking away the amount of alcohol that you were left ...

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