Extended Essay: How do different Flavours, Storage Times affect the Effectiveness of Crisps as a Fuel?

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How do different Flavours, Storage

Temperatures and Storage Times affect the

Effectiveness of a Crisp as a Fuel?

Serena Yung

Mr Geoffrey Lofthouse

Word Count: 3061




Noting the ever-increasing demand for bio-fuels, my curiosity had driven me to

investigate if a particular type of food could serve this purpose.  My first thought was noodles,

yet these were amazingly difficult to light; I then tried burning bread, but equally unsuccessfully.  

In the end, I decided on an oily—not to mention delicious—food substance, crisps, as these

would assumably make better fuels due to their great wealth of highly flammable oil.  In effect,

they burned easily with a strong flame.  The more energy crisps release when burnt, the more

effective they are as fuels.        

To begin, I investigated the flavour of crisp giving the highest energy value.

Then, how different storage temperatures may affect these energy values.  Lastly, how different

storage times (in exposure to light and oxygen) might also affect these values.

According to results, the “Calbee Curry flavour” appeared to release most energy

(8868J/g), “Edo Hot Tomato” and “Jack and Jill Roasted Sausage flavour Mong Kok Style” the

least (4208 and 4210 J/g respectively).  Effectively these figures may suggest that Calbee Curry

contained the highest fat content, whereas Edo and Jack and Jill contained the lowest.  As for

storage temperatures, there seems to be a general positive correlation of increasing energy values

with increasing temperatures, however after 70’C the energy values dropped drastically.  The

strange resemblance of results to an enzyme graph may be linked to enzyme activity in relation

to crisp energy values.  Lastly, for storage time, there is a general negative correlation between

time and energy values, which may be due to oxidation effects.

Table of Contents

Content                              Page

Abstract                                                          2

Introduction to Research Question                                     4

Experimental Method                                               5

Results                                                          14

Conclusion                                                       21

Evaluation                                                       23

Works Cited                                                      27

Appendix                                                        29

Introduction to Research


A global demand for bio fuel has become increasingly noticeable.  It is distinct

from other forms of fuel, in that when plants are grown to produce fuels, excess atmospheric

carbon dioxide is absorbed in the process (Lehman); Godwin even reports a 75% reduction in

greenhouse gases from this phenomena.  In addition, a by product of bio fuel, glycerine, is a

useful for making biscuits, confectionary products, toothpaste, soap, cosmetics and for some

pharmaceuticals such as cough medicine (Godwin).  Hien also paraphrases from Ginies, the

managing director of the Ouagadougo-based International Institute for Water and Environment

Engineering, that “biofuel byproducts could serve as livestock feed or fertiliser for food crops”

and generating biofuels “could help provide solutions to transport costs and reduce expenditure

on energy in rural areas by between 30 and 40 percent.”

My Investigation and its Different Approaches

In the light of the many benefits of bio fuel, I have decided to investigate which

flavour of crisp releases most energy when burnt as a fuel, as well as how storage temperature

and storage time would affect these energy values.

To measure the crisps’ energy values, a calorimeter must be used.  Professional

food tests (energy values often measured in calories) are often carried out in a complex bomb

calorimeter (Myers, 120).  However as these are not easily accessible, a simpler, school made

calorimeter will be used instead (Lewis, “Which Alcohol is the Best Fuel?”)

Research Question:

How do different Flavours, Storage Temperatures and Storage Times affect the Effectiveness of a

Crisp as a Fuel?

Enthalpy Change  =

Mass X Specific Heat Capacity X Change in Temperature = mc△T

      Change in Mass of Crisp

(Lewis, “Calculations of Enthalpy Change”)  Where enthalpy change is the energy stored in

Joules per gram of each crisp. (Units derived from Olson’s kcal/g).  The change in the mass of

crisp is in grams; the mass of water (also in grams) is assumed to be equal to its volume (1

gram : 1 cm3 ); its specific heat capacity is assumed to be the standard value, 4.18 J/g/K;

temperature is in kelvins.


     The storage temperature and storage time may both affect the energy values in crisps,

possibly due to oxidation effects.

     Different flavours could affect energy values of crisps, because of their differences in fat content.

Experimental Method

Apparatus for all 3 experiments:


Paper towels

2 copper beakers (will be referred to as calorimeters in the text)

2 thermometers

2 stands

6 clamps

A 100ml plastic measuring cylinder

2 tin lids

A top pan balance

Tap water

An oven

A lighter

A Bunsen burner

45 Petri dishes

A heatproof mat

2 mounting needles

Packets of Crisps (one from each of the following: Jack and Jill Roasted Sausage flavour Mong

Kok Style, Edo Hot Tomato Flavour, Calbee BBQ, and Calbee Curry flavour.  And 2 tins of

Pringles Sour cream and Onion) (these will be abbreviated to Jack and Jill, Edo, Calbee

BBQ, Calbee Curry and Pringles)

A permanent marker pen (blue or black)

45 Plastic zip lock bags


  1. Collect all apparatus.

  1. Prepare first experiment of different flavours of crisps:

Place one crisp in one ziplock bag, this is one sample.  In total, there should be 3 of

each flavour, therefore a total of 15 samples.  Use the permanent marker to write on the bags

the names of their respective flavours.  For each flavour, mark each sample as 1, 2, or 3 (these

are test numbers for each flavour.)

Join now!

Weigh all these samples on the top pan balance and mark their masses on a table.  

(Remember to weigh these without the zip lock bags)

  1. Prepare second experiment of different storage temperatures:

Take out 15 Pringles Sour Cream and Onion crisps (I favoured using this flavour as

they are largest, so are easier to poke through).  Place each in a separate zip lock bag.  Mark a

bag with a temperature (25, 30, 50, 70 or 90’C) and test number (of 1, 2 or 3).  You should end ...

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