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Specific Heat Capacity Lab (Part 2)

(Determine the Specific Heat of an Unknown Metal)
When substances at different temperatures are brought into contact they experience thermal interaction. During this interaction heat is lost by the warmer substance and gained by the cooler substance. This process continues until both substances are at the same temperature. The ability of matter to transfer heat depends on its mass and temperature (as well as what the matter is!). When heat is gained or lost by a substance (and there is no phase change of the substance), the temperature of the substance rises or falls in accordance with the following relationship: Q = mcT where Q = heat absorbed or released (in J), T = change in temperature (in C), m = mass (in g), and c = specific heat capacity (4.18 J/gC for water). If a substance absorbs heat, then Q is positive. If a substance releases heat, then Q is negative. In the first part of this lab (which you did a few days ago), you mixed hot and cold water. To reach equilibrium, the cold water warmed up (gained thermal energy) and the warm water cooled down (lost thermal energy). Ideally, the cool water should have gained all of the heat lost by the cooling warm water. However, this did not happen. There are of course sources of error in any experiment! For todays part of the lab, you will be placing cold metal in warm water. You will assume that the warming metal will gain all of the heat lost by the cooling warm water. This will allow you to calculate c, the specific heat capacity of the metal.

In this experiment, you will
use a computer to measure temperature find the specific heat capacity of an unknown

metals determine the identity of the unknown metal by using experimentally determined specific heat.

iBook Computer 1 Go!Link adapter Logger Pro 1 Vernier Temperature Probes 50-mL graduated cylinder Styrofoam cup 250-mL beaker cold water warm water bag of metal

In this experiment, you will be placing 50 grams of a cold metal into 50 grams of warm water. Since the materials are at different temperatures, heat will be exchanged until they reach thermal equilibrium. The hot water will decrease in temperature and the cold metal will increase in
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Experiment 7 temperature. Which material do you expect to have a larger change in temperature? Why do you expect that?

Figure 1


1. Turn on your computer. Select Physics to login. 2. Connect the temperature probe to a Go!Link. Connect the Go!Link/tempererature probe setup to the computers USB port. 3. Open LoggerPro by selecting the LoggerPro icon from the dock (it has a red diamond background with a caliper in front of it). 4. Select Experiment from the menus at the top, then select Data Collection. Change the time from 180 seconds to 600 seconds. Click Done to return to the main screen. 5. Place a Styrofoam cup into a 250-mL beaker as shown in Figure 1. Use a 50-mL graduated cylinder to get 50.0 mL (50.0 g) of hot water from the container supplied by the teacher. Pour the hot water into the Styrofoam cup and insert the temperature probe. 6. Have a member of your group get a bag of metal from the bucket of ice. While the metal is being gotten, start collecting temperature. Click Collect to begin data collection. 7. After the first temperature readings have been made by the computer, carefully pour all of the metal from the bag into the Styrofoam cup of hot water. Stir to mix. Let the probe collect data. While the data is being collected: a. Record the letter written on the bag the metal was in on your data table. b. Measure the temperature of the ice cold water using the thermometer provided at the station. Record this in the data table as the initial temperature of the metals. c. As the data is being collected, keep an eye on the graph. When the metal is first added, the temperature should start changing at a much more rapid rate than it did when it was just sitting there (before the metal was added). When the rate of temperature change returns to the rate before the metal was added, you may stop data collection.


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Mixing Warm and Cold Water 7. Click the Examine button. Find and record the initial temperature (before metal was added) and final temperature (equilibrium temperature after metal was added). Record the data in the data table for the Initial Temperature of Water and Final Temperature for Metal and for Water.


Data Letter Written on Metal Bag Mass of Water Mass of Metal Initial Temperature of Metal Initial Temperature of Water Final Temperature for Metal and for Water. (We are assuming
they are at thermal equilibrium.)

50 g 50 g


1. Calculate the temperature change, t, for the cup of water and for the pieces of metal by subtracting the initial temperature from the final temperature for each process. Water temp. change Metal temp. change Equation: Plug in the numbers: Answer: T = Tfinal Tinitial T = T = T = Tfinal Tinitial T = T =

2. Calculate the heat lost by the water (in J). Use the equation where Q = heat absorbed (in J), T = change in temperature (in C), m = mass (50.0 g in this experiment), and c = specific heat capacity (4.18 J/gC for water). Heat Lost by the Water Equation: Plug in the numbers: Answer: Q = mcT Q= Q=

3. We are going to assume that the metal gained all of the heat (Q) lost by the water. So we can now calculate the specific heat capacity of the metal. (Mass = 50g) Metals Specific Heat Equation: Q = mcT

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Experiment 7 Algebra: Plug in the numbers: Answer: c =Q/(mT) c=


4. Use the table below to identify the metal based on the specific heat capacity you calculated. Metal Aluminum Copper Iron Lead Nickel Platinum Steel Zinc Specific Heat Capacity (J/gC) 0.91 0.39 0.46 0.13 0.54 0.13 0.5 0.39

5. Which substancethe water or the metalhad a larger change in temperature? Is this what you expected (look back at your pre-lab question)? Explain why the sizes of the temperature changes were the sizes they were.

6. Suppose you have equal masses of water and metal at the same temperature. Then suppose you light similar candles and place a candle under each of the masses, letting the candles burn for equal times. Would one of the materials change temperature more than the other? If so, which one and why?

7. Suppose you have cold feet when you go to bed, and you want something to warm your feet. Would you prefer to have a hot-water bottle filled with hot water, or one filled with an equal mass of metal at the same temperature as the water? Explain.


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Mixing Warm and Cold Water

8. What are some sources of error in this lab? What would you do differently if you were to repeat this lab again so that you got better results?

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