Specific Heat Lab

Topics: Heat, Absolute zero, Thermodynamic temperature Pages: 3 (731 words) Published: February 14, 2012
Specific Heat Lab

Objective: Find the specific heat of the unknown metal given using calorimetry.

Background Theory:

In every reaction, energy is transferred between a system and its environment. A system encompasses the substances that are involved in a reaction, and everything else in the universe other than the system is called the environment. The standard SI unit of energy is Joules (J). Temperature is the level of excitement of the atoms in a substance. In most cases, energy is transferred by heat. Heat is the energy released from a change in temperature. The standard units for heat and temperature are in degrees Celsius or Kelvin (both have the same increment between each degree, the difference is that Celsius is based off of the freezing point of water, and Kelvin is based off of absolute zero. A calorie is the amount of energy needed to heat one gram of water by one degree Kelvin, or 4.1868 joules. Now scientists more commonly use Joules.

Every substance has a specific heat capacity. A specific heat capacity is the amount of energy needed to heat one gram of a substance by one degree Kelvin. Heat capacity is the amount of energy needed to heat a given sample of any size by one degree Kelvin. You can find specific heat by dividing the general heat capacity by the weight in grams of a substance. The higher the specific heat of a substance is, the harder it is to heat it.

To calculate the heat absorbed or lost by a substance you use the equation q=(mass in grams)(change in temperature)(specific heat of the substance) where q equals the energy transferred in Joules/g. A calorimeter is an instrument used to measure the change in heat in a reaction. Inside a calorimeter it is filled with water. To find the specific heat of a substance you place the substance inside the water, then measure the change in the temperature of the water and the change in temperature of the substance. The final temperature and amount of heat transferred will...
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