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: Raymond Thomas

Student number


Name of institution :University Of

Southampton ,

: 6 December

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This experiment is about to find the specific heat of two different

metals,which are aluminium and copper. The meaning of specific heat
is the heat amount required by a 1kg substance to increase its
temperature by one degree celcius. The higher the conductivity of a
substance ,the lower if capacity will be.Electronic scale used to find the
mass of the metal pieces while calorimeter and a thermometer to find
the temperature changes and specific heat of the metal pieces. In the
end,the results did not match with the physical properties of the metal
pieces so the hypothesis was not supported and the data was not
supporting it to get the actual specific heat of the metals in this

The term Specific Heat is defined by amount of heat required by a
1kg substance to increase its temperature by one degree celcius.Heat
capacity is also a synonym term for specific heat.The relationship
between heat and changes in temperature can be expressed as shown
in Below:-

Q = mcT
Q = Heat energy.(J)
m = Mass of the substance.(kg)
c = Capacity of the substance.(oJ kg-1
T = Change is temperature.(K)

Note that, this expression is cannot be used when the substance is

undergoing phase changing. This is because, during the phase
changing,there is no heat changes in temperature due to the a
substance change phase in the same temperature. The most common
specific heat is water,where the value is approx 4200 J kg-1 K-1 which
the value is higher than any other common substance. As a result,the

conductors have the lower heat capacity value than the insulators.The
total energy of a substance depends on its mass and temperature.

The aim of the experiment is about to determine the specific heats

of copper and aluminium. Copper is metal from group 11 in periodic
table while aluminium is a metal group 13.In this report,The methods
used were technically correct after approved by the PGTA. There were
some errors during the experiment which led us to get the wrong
value,where the specific heat values were to far different than the
actual value. The errors were listed down in the log book as well
shown in the report in coming pages.

There are some important sections such as errors, apparatus , the

methods used to carry out this experiment,discussion ,results and
others about this experiment has been stated in this report.


There were few theories that helped to conduct this experiment.

Identifying specific heat of a substance cannot be done by these
theories such as : Q = mcT
Specific heat Latent heat
Thermodynamic relations

Q = mcT

This theory is very commonly used to find the value of specific heat
capacity for a particular substance. This theory is already explained in
the introduction. For further information, this theory was founded by
William Cleghorn. He discovered about the difference between
intensity of heat ,the temperature and the amount of heat. From
there,he derived and created the concept of specific heat.

Specific heat Latent heat

Specific heat is not the same as latent heat. Where the expression
for the latent heat known as :-

Q = m

Q = Heat energy .(J)

m = Mass of the substance.(kg)
= Latent heat.(J kg-1 )

Specific heat capacity is defined as amount of heat required by a

1kg substance to increase its temperature by one degree celcius,while
latent heat is defined the amount of energy released or absorbed by a
chemical substance during a change of state that occurs without
changing its temperature.There is a graph shown below about the
transformation of a substance under latent heat.

Figure 1.0 : Latent Heat graph

Start at A, the substance is in solid state, the heat energy increase
the temperature from A to its melting point at B.The substance still in
the form of solid when it reaches at B. As it is heated further,the
energy source goes into breaking the bonds holding the atoms in place
without changing the temperature (occurs in the same temperature
but take times to break the bond).This process takes place from B to
C,which known as melting. The temperature rise again from C to

D,where the substance changed its phase to liquid from solid during
the previous BC melting process. When it reaches D,the substance will
still in form of liquid. There is a process occurs from D to E,which
known as vapourisation. Vapourisation occurs to break the bond in
liquid and change its phase to gas form. There are no changes in
temperature too (same as BC).Beyond E, further heating the gas may
increase the temperature. From the graph above, latent heat cannot
be used to calculate the specific heat of a substance since specific heat
needs changes in temperature for its calculation.

Thermodynamic relations
To get the exact values of specific heat for copper and aluminium
from the experiment, this theory was very useful since there were
energy lost from some apparatus to another. This phenomena happens
because,when two or more different materials with different
temperature in contact,the heat move from warmer to cooler place(the
heat transfer occurs) until these substance are at the same

a solar
gain. From the figure, sun light release heat energy to the earth
surface via radiation. When the radiation energy hit the surface of the
glass, there are three different phenomena happen which are
reflection, transmission and absorption. Some of the energy reflected
on the glass surface,some energy is absorbed by the glass and some
energy pass through the glass via transmission. Where, the total
energy of sun is equals to the energy gained by reflection,absorption
and transmission. :-

Total energy from Sun = Ir+It+Ia

Ir = Reflected energy
It = Transmitted energy

Ia = Absorbed energy

There are many difference among these 3 theories : Q = mcT

Specific heat Latent heat
Heat loss = Heat gain
But these theories has been used in different angle to determine the
specific heat value of were Aluminium and Copper.


Aim : To determine the specific heats of copper and aluminium


From the experiment,the independent variable was temperature.
Because, Temperature was not constant since transfer of heat occurred
when calculating the specific capacity of the metal pieces as shown in
figure below.

Figure 2.0:Specific
heat experiment
The dependent
variable was the
heat energy gain or loss by the experiment. Temperature affect the
heat energy because,when there was a changes in temperature,the
heat energy change too. While,the control variable was specific heat of
substance. Specific heat will be the same even the the temperature is
different.Because, Specific heat of a body depends on its physical
surface and properties.
The list of apparatus used :
Insulated calorimeter

To measure the physical changes in chemical


Hot water
Metal pieces(copper

As an initial temperature for the experiment.

To find the specific heat of aluminium and

and aluminium)

To measure the changes in temperature.
To stir the mixtures in the calorimeter.
To avoid hot water pour on the surface of


To measure the volume of the hot water before


pour into the calorimeter.

To carry the hot beaker.
To hold the metal pieces.

The method used to get the value of specific heats were:-

Mathematics expressions

Simultaneous equation is the common mathematics expression used

in various experiment to get the actual values. Substitutions and
elimination are the most basic skills needed to solve simultaneous
equation. In this experiment, This simultaneous equation was so
important because this expression needed to solve during the
thermodynamic relations where to find the specific heat of copper and aluminium.

There were some important data given which known as constants. Such as :-



The value of heat capacity of water : 4200 J kg-1 K-1.


The value of heat capacity of calorimeter : 904 J kg-1 K-1.

These value were used during the calculation part.

Procedure of the experiment

Figure 2.1 : sample

of second procedure.
Weigh the
calorimeter and half
fill it with cold water
and weight again. Insert the calorimeter and water into insulation.Take
the temperature of the water in the calorimeter with the thermometer
provided.Then,Weigh the copper piece.Put them into a beaker and add
boiling water into the beaker then stir.Take the temperature of the
water. Quickly but carefully,pour off the boiling water through the sieve
and drop the copper pieces into the water in the calorimeter.Stir,and
note the temperature, the important part is to record the temperature
when it stabilise. Finally,Calculate the specific heat capacity of copper
with the information gained from the procedure. Repeat the same
experiment by using the aluminium piece and calculate the specific


heat capacity of aluminium.

1. Wear gloves when handling the hot beaker and metal piece. It may
injure the researchers hand if the precaution is not taken so
serious due to the hot water in the beaker.

2. Do not drop the any other metal into glass beaker. When other
metals drop into the beaker,the value of specific heat of the metal
pieces may go wrong and wasting the time spent on this

3. Stir using the stirrer provided not the thermometer. Thermometer

is a fragile apparatus,it may break and the mercury will flow out
from the thermometer. Mercury is a poisonous liquid which can
harm to human skin.

4. Be aware of other hot apparatus in neighbourhood. Do not stand

near with other group during the experiment.



The mass of copper piece and aluminium piece were gained by

weighing on the weighing machine where the values were:1.Mass of copper : 3 gram
2.Mass of aluminium : 4 gram




Mass of calorimeter
Water (112g)

26 gram
112 gram

26 gram
118 gram







Initial temperature of
Initial temperature of
hot water
temperature of
There was a difference between in the mass of water for copper and
aluminium because, we did the same experiment twice for aluminium
piece and copper piece. There was a small difference in the volume of
water between two metal pieces experiment.

Analysis questions
1.Determine the changes in temperature of water (Twater) and of the
metal pieces (T

aluminium piece and copper peices).

2. Calculate the heat lost by water in each experiment.

3.Remember that the heat gained by the water is equal to the heat
lost by the copper and aluminium pieces,calculate the specific heat of
the aluminium piece and copper piece



Experiment 1 : Specific heat of copper



= 80oC - 29oC

=29oC - 28oC

To find the specific heat capacity of copper,

Heat loss by water and calorimeter = heat gained by copper piece

[(Masswater)(Heat capacityWater) + (MassCalorimeter)(Heat capacityCalorimter)] x

(T) = (Masscopper)(Heat capacitycopper)(T)

[(0.086kg)(4190 J kg-1 K-1) + (0.026)(904 J kg-1 K-1.)] x (29-28) =


383.844 J = 0.153C
C = 383.844 J
C = 2508.78 J kg-1 K-1


The specific heat of copper is 2508.78 J kg-1 K-1 from the calculation
above.The same formula need to use again to gain the specific heat of
aluminium piece.

Experiment 2 : Specific heat of aluminium


aluminium piece

=80oC - 28.5oC

=28.5oC - 28oC
To find the specific heat capacity of aluminium,
Heat loss by water and calorimeter = heat gained by aluminium piece

[(Masswater)(Heat capacityWater) + (MassCalorimeter)(Heat capacityCalorimter)] x

(T) = (Massaluminium)(Heat capacityaluminium)(T)

[(0.086kg)(4190 J kg-1 K-1) + (0.026)(904 J kg-1 K-1.)] x (29-28) =



204.492 J = 0.206 C
C = 204.492 J
0.206 C
C = 992.38 J / kg K

The specific heat of aluminium is 992.38 J / kg K. The same calculation

and method as copper above to get the values of heat specific of

The reading of temperature went wrong due to the scale.The
calculation went wrong and the actual value of specific heat did not
match the actual value of specific heat in this experiment.After the was
a mistake, the same experiment needed to do again for copper after
the first result did not satisfied the value of specific heat.Then, the
experiment carry out for aluminium to get the specific heat of
aluminium. The errors occurred during this experiment has been
written down in the below.


Experimental error
The reading of the

The thermometer was

Solutions/ fixes
Replaced the

temperature was not

in contact with metal

thermometer in the


piece. It suppose to

right position.

be read the
temperature of heat
The outcome result

transfer in water.
The calculation went

Did the calculation

far different than



expected result.
Wrong value in

The position of the

Read the scale again

temperature changes.

eyes were not

with the eyes

perpendicular to the

perpendicular to the

The mass of water

reading scale.
The volume of water

Increased the volume

should be constant for

took for second

of water took for

experiment 1 and

experiment was too

second experiment.

experiment 2.


Calculation of percentage error.

Actual values :Heat specific of copper: 385 J / kg K
Heat specific of Aluminium: 901 J / kg K

The value get from the experiment:Experimental heat specific of copper: 2508.78 J /kg K
Experimental heat specific of Aluminium: 992.38 J / kg K

Percentage error= experimental value - actual value x 100%

Actual value
Copper = (2508.78 J /kg K - 385 J / kg K )( 100%)
385 J / kg K
Copper = 551.63%
Aluminium = (992.38 J / kg K - 901 J / kg K)(100%)

901 J / kg K
Aluminium = 10.15%
The percentage value of copper is far different from its actual
value. To prevent this problems occur again,there are few steps need
to take to improve the method of investigation:-

The reading of values should be fast and accurate to avoid

wasting the time.Get the amount of materials and apparatus correctly
according to the guide given in the procedure to avoid errors in
results.Put full concentration when conducting an experiment to see
the every part of changes and record the changes in proper


manner.Tabulation of data must be perfect for the experiment,so that

the needed value from the experiment can be write down easily in the


In conclusion the group performance during the experiment went

well. There was no conflict among group members . It is possible to
get the actual value of specific heat of the metals if the data collected
during the experiment were correct.The difficulty in this report was
obtaining the background information on the subject of specific heat.
To get the actual values of the results, the experiment should conduct
in proper way to avoid careless mistakes and must use the correct
amount of materials and apparatus.


NAVE,R.(2000) Specific heat [online] Guelph,Canada. Available
[Accessed 1 December 2015]
SIMMONS,J.(2015) How to Calculate Specific Heat Capacity [online]
York,United States. Available from [Accessed 1 December 2015]
BOUNDLESS.(2015) Specific Heat and Heat Capacity [online]
Boston,United States. Available from


heat-and-heat-capacity-282-1442/ [Accessed 3 December 2015]

ZHIGILEI,L.(2010 )Theoretical calculation of the heat
capacity[online] University of Virginia,United States. Available from
[Accessed 4 December 2015]
Image source .

Figure 1.1:





Figure 2.1: