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# Joule Equivalent of Electrical Energy

Emily A. Gatlin
P a rt ne r: W h i t ne y He a s t o n
D a t e P e r fo rm e d : 1 8 F e b r u a ry 20 0 9
2 5 F e b r u a ry 2 0 0 9
J o h n C a ru t h
OBJ ECTI VE
The primary goal of this experiment is to show how the concept of heat energy relates to electrical

energy. It furthers the understanding of calorimetry through measuring the electrical energy and

## calculating the Joule equivalent of electrical energy.

INTRO DUCTI ON
The theory of heat energy measured in quantities separately defined from the laws of mechanics and

electricity and magnetism. Sir James Joule studies of these separate phenomena lead him to the discovery

of the proportionality constant known as the Joule equivalent of heat, denoted by J. The Joule equivalent

## of heat is the amount of mechanical or electrical energy within a unit of heat W  Q V

energy. (1.1) W Q
P V 
t t
Power is the rate of performing work and electrical power is the amount of electrical

energy expanded over time. Since in an electrical circuit, the energy Electrical and P V I
mechanical energy are measure in units of joules, but heat energy uses the measurement units of
W  P t
kilocalories. (1.2)
W  V  I t

The change in the heat energy of a material Q is directly proportional to the change in temperature of

the material Q  T , which also depend on the material and its specific heat. The transfer of

## J  Joule equivalent of heat or the machanical energy equivalent of heat

J = 4186 Joule/kilocalorie (1.3)

If a constant current flows through a resistive heating element, producing a constant maintained potential

drop V across the element. This energy expanded into heat energy will increase its container and its

constituents’ temperature. Thus, the change in heat energy of the container and water will be the sum of

## the heat energies of each as shown in the equation below.

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Emily Gatlin Joule Equivalent of Electrical Energy

Q  mc cc T  mw cw T
where mw  mass of water; mc  mass of container
(1.4) VI t  J mc cc T  mw cw T 
VI 1
J
mc cc  mw cw  T
PROC EDURE t

APPARATUS
The apparatus contains a resistive heating-coil, stirrer, and

## electrical connector posts, double-wall aluminum calorimeter,

low voltage, high current power supply, digital voltmeter and ammeter, electrical

leads, digital multimeter, and Pasco® 750 Science Workshop data acquisition

## system with temperature sensor.

DATA ACQUISITION
In order to obtain the data, the DataStudio™ software is set up to use the temperature sensor on the

apparatus to collect systematically the temperatures at specified time interval of 5-seconds. After the

computer is completely set-up, the rest of the apparatus is assembled. Water is added to the calorimeter

until it is about 2-inches away from being completely full. In order to lower the temperature of the

water, a few ice cubes are added. Once the ice is completely melted, the calorimeter is carefully placed

into the apparatus to ensure that they heating-coil and temperature probe do not touch. The voltage is

set to a constant amount of approximately 6-volts. The voltmeter is wired directly to the heating coil

assembly and is used to gain an accurate measurement of voltage between the two ends of the heating-

coil. The computer is now ready to collect the data. While the data is recorded into the computer directly

from the temperature probe, the stirrer rod is constantly moved up and down to stir the water as it is

heated.

This ensures that all the water and its container will come into thermal equilibrium with each other. The

data acquisition stops automatically after ten-minutes. The results are graphed in the plot, temperature

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Emily Gatlin Joule Equivalent of Electrical Energy
vs. time. The DataStudio™ software also allows the direct plotting of the temperature vs. time graph and
VI
J
the calculation of the slope in the form y  mx  b mc cc  mw cw 
T (1.5)
t
I
m
t

The entire experiment is repeated using 8-volts from the power source instead of 6-volts.

## DATA & CA LCU LATI ON S

DATA SET #1
Mass of container and Water mcw  278.0grams
Mass of Container mc  42.00 grams
Mass of Water m w  236.0 grams
kcal
Specific Heat of Water cw  1.0 kg
oC

kcal
Specific Heat of Aluminum cc  0.21 kg
oC

## Voltage Drop Across Heater Coil V  6.1 volts

Current Flowing in Heater Coil I  4.82 C
T
Slope of Temperature versus Time m  0.025  6.5105
t
J  4792.37602853 Joules
kcal
Joule Equivalent of Heat
J  4817.36134569 kcal
Joules

%Error  14.4858105236%
% Error
%Error  15.0826886214%
U s i n g e q u a t i o n ( 1. 5 )
VI
J
T
mc cc  mw cw 
t
6.1 volts  4.82 C
J
 
 kcal 
0.042 kg 0.21 kg  0.236 kg 1.0 kg 0.025  6.510 
kcal 5

 C C

Theoretical Value Measured Value
29.402 v  C % Error = ×100
J Theoretical Value
0.00882 kcal o C  0.236 kcal  C0.024935 o C seconds
kcal  4792.37602852
Joules Joules
4186 kcal
29.408 v  C % Error = 100
J 4186 Joules kcal
0.24482 kcal  oC0.024935 C
second  %Error  14.4858105236%
29.408 v  C
J  4817.36134569 Joules
kcal
0.0061045867 kcal second
J  4817.36134569 Joules
kcal
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Emily Gatlin Joule Equivalent of Electrical Energy

VI
J
T
mc cc  mw cw 
t
6.1 volts  4.82 C
J
 
 kcal 
0.025  6.5105 
kcal
 0.042 kg 0.21  0.236 kg 1.0

kg
C
kg
C

29.402 v  C Theoretical Value Measured Value
J % Error = ×100
o 

0.00882 kcal  C  0.236 kcal  C 0.025065 secondsoC
 Theoretical Value
4186 Joules kcal  4817.36134569 Joules kcal
29.408 v  C % Error = 100
J 4186 Joules

0.24482 kcal  oC 0.025065  C second 
kcal
%Error  15.0826886214%
29.408 v  C
J  4792.37602853 Joules kcal
0.0061364133 kcal second

DATA SET #2

## Mass of Container and Water mcw  291.0 grams

Mass of Container mc  42.0 grams
Mass of Water mw  249 grams
kcal
cw  1.0
Specific Heat of Water kg
o
C
kcal
cc  0.21
Specific Heat of Aluminum kg
o
C
Voltage Drop Across Heater Coil V  8.0 volts
Current Flowing In Heater Coil I  6.38 Amps
T
Slope of Temper  0.0416  1.0 104
t
J  4757.69224409 Joules
kcal
Joule equivalent of Heat
J  4759.98014611 Joules
kcal
%Error  13.6572%
% Error
%Error  13.7119%

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Emily Gatlin Joule Equivalent of Electrical Energy
VI
J
T
mc cc  mw cw 
t
8.0 volts  6.38 Amp
J
 
 kcal 
0.0416  110 
kcal 5
 0.042 kg 0.21 kg
 0.249 kg 1.0 kg

 C C 
51.04 v  A
J
0.00882 kcal o C  0.249 kcal  C0.04161 o C seconds
Theoretical Value Measured Value
51.04 v  A % Error = ×100
J Theoretical Value
0.25782 kcal  oC0.04161  C second  4186 Joules
kcal  4757.69
Joules
kcal
% Error = 100
51.04 v  C 4186 Joules kcal
J  4757.69224409 Joules
kcal
0.107278902 kcal second %Error  13.6572%

VI
J
T
mc cc  mw cw 
t
8.0 volts  6.38 Amp
J
 
 kcal 
0.0416 110 
kcal 5
 0.042 kg 0.21 kg
 0.249 kg 1.0 kg

 C C 
Theoretical Value Measured Value
51.04 v  A % Error = ×100
J Theoretical Value

0.00882 kcal o C  0.249 kcal  C 0.04159 o C seconds 
% Error =
4186 Joules kcal  4759.98 Joules kcal
100
51.04 v  A 4186 Joules kcal
J

0.25782 kcal  oC 0.04159  C second  %Error  13.7119%
51.04 v  C
J  4759.98014611 Joules
kcal
0.0109887338 kcal second
J  4759.98014611 Joules
kcal

The error within the experiment could stem from multiple sources. For example, the minute presence of

ice not completely melted might have been present when the experiment begins. This would cause a

much cooler temperature than expected at the specified voltages and current readings. Additionally, the

mass of the water and container might be skewed due to the presence of ice. Ice is less dense than liquid

water and this would cause disparity in the data used to calculate the joule equivalent of electrical energy

using equation(1.5). Additionally, the water within the calorimeter might still not possess a uniform

temperature due to the stirring, which would also produce error within the data.

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Emily Gatlin Joule Equivalent of Electrical Energy

CONC LUSIO N

This experiment demonstrated the relationship between the equivalence of electrical energy and heat

energy using calorimetry to show a method to measure electrical energy. Since the formation of the

concept of electrical energy revolved around the principles of mechanical energy, the correlation of

electrical energy to these principles remains a crucial relationship to understanding electrical energy.

Equation(1.3) shows the direct correlation of these fundamental principles to each other. In this

experiment, the joule electrical equivalent of energy is calculated using the slope of the temperature

versus time curve. This plot of the temperature versus time curve shows the direct linear relationship

associated with the joule electrical equivalent of energy. This correlation is shown in Equation(1.5).

Thus, this experiment uses the key concepts behind calorimetry in order to explain its correlation to the

joule electrical equivalent of energy as seen in Equation(1.4). The error present in the experiment still

demonstrated the concepts effectively and allowed for a calculation of the joule equivalent of electrical

energy.