Specific Heat Lab

Topics: Specific heat capacity, Heat, Thermodynamics Pages: 6 (1793 words) Published: December 12, 2012
Ten Minutes of Specific Heat

Remi Adams

East Rowan High School
AP Environmental Science

Specific heat and climate were the primary focus of this lab. Specific heat is defined as “the measure of the ability of a substance to change temperature”. The purpose for carrying out this lab was to determine the specific heat/rates of both soil and water, and then comparing them. Students also were to relate specific heat to climate. Students were to determine which substance expressed a higher specific heat by using the formula, (q=m*Δt*c). Then they were to explain how specific heat and climate are in relation to one another.

Ten Minutes of Specific Heat

The introduction to your lab report should not have a heading, however it should establish the concept/context of the lab and present the objectives and purpose of the investigation. Introductions are where you should give the background information on any previous research that has been completed or interesting ideas that could apply to the subject being studied. A good introduction should first and foremost, provide the reader with the objectives for the lab – what is your PURPOSE, what are you trying to find out. The second thing a good introduction should do is give the reader an understanding of the context of the lab, theories, equations, examples, or anything else that is important for them to know to understand the remainder of the report. Just like in a research paper, you should move from a general description of the lab to a more detailed idea that contains your hypothesis. How are specific heat and climate interrelated? The purpose of performing this specific heat lab, was to answer that very question. It was also to define specific heat, and to uncover the specific heat/rates of both soil and water. Specific heat is, as defined by the lab books provided, “the measure of the ability of a substance to change temperature”. Prior experience prepared students for this lab, because they were already aware of the specific heat formula (q=m*Δt*c). However, they had yet to collect their own data through any sort of lab they had performed and then also use it alongside of that formula. Using mostly general scientific tools (petri dishes, thermometers, scales, etc.), students were to follow the directions given, and chart their data as they went along.

-2 petri dishes
-2 thermometers (Lab Quest)
-heat lamp
Students were to first gather their materials, but before they could truly begin they were to weigh the petri dishes without anything in them. After gathering what they could from the classroom, they proceeded outdoors for their soil sample. Using a simple garden shovel, students filled one of their petri dishes with soil from random places within the schoolyard. They then returned to the classroom to fill the second petri dish with water. Making their way towards the scales yet again, they weigh the mass of the petri dishes that as of now contain substances. It was after the weight was recorded that students subtracted the mass of the petri dish itself. This was done so that students may see what the substance alone weighs. Returning to their lab stations, students placed the dishes under the heat lamp, placing them so that they would receive equal amounts of heat and or light from the lamp. Before turning on the lamp however, thermometers were placed in the petri dishes, and those temperatures were then recorded. After this, the lamp was turned on, and every thirty seconds that passed a temperature was recorded. This happened for ten minutes, and data was recorded in a table and or chart. It was made much more efficient to do so thanks to the Lab Quest temperature reading devices. After students had recorded all of their data, they were to use their findings along with the specific heat formula. They discovered the specific heat of water from their books, and were to calculate...
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