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Investigating the effect of type of metal on specific heat capacity Kinan Bachour Physics Grade 12 April 8, 2012

Data collection: Table 1: Final and initial temperatures of water in which each heated metal was put Initial Mass of Final Temp. of Mass of Metal Initial Temp. of Temp. of Metal Water Water with (0.012)(g) metal (0.53) (C) Water (0.5) (0.51)(g) Metal (0.5) (C) (C) 8.92 101.0 19.0 21.0 30.0 8.92 95.0 19.0 20.5 Zinc 8.92 99.0 19.0 25.0 8.94 100.0 19.0 24.5 30.0 8.94 100.0 19.0 26.0 Copper 8.94 94.0 20.0 23.0 4.09 95.0 19.0 21.0 4.09 95.0 21.0 22.5 30.0 Aluminum 4.09 95.0 22.0 24.0 The above data represents the initial and final temperatures of water after the heater metal was put into it. From these data points, the heat capacity of each metal can be calculated. Qualitative statement: There were no clear observations that could have been made during the calorimetry process. The only small observation is that the beaker of water felt warmer after the metal was put and the system reached thermal equilibrium. Data processing: Table 2: the change in temperature from which the heat capacity of metal was calculated Metal Temperature Q of water (J) Capacity of metal (1)(C) ( Zinc 2 300200 0.40.3 2 200200 0.30.3 6 800200 11 Copper 6 700200 11 7 900200 11 3 400200 0.60.4 Aluminum 2 300200 11 2 200200 0.70.8 2 300200 11 a) Sample calculation to show the change in temperature and its uncertainty

1 2

Uncertainty of graduated cylinder as 1 g=1 ml Uncertainty of electronic scale 3 Temperature uncertainties are a result of the uncertainty of a thermometer.

The change in temp of water for Zinc in trial 1 is 21 C. b) Sample calculation to show Q of water and its uncertainty ( ( (

( ( The Q of water for zinc trial 1 is 300200 J )

c) Sample calculation to show the capacity of each metal and its uncertainty Since the heat emitted from the metal transferred to increase the temperature of the water, then we can conclude neglecting heat loss that: metal mass* of metal*capacity of metal=water mass* *capacity of water

( ( )

The heat capacity is 0.40.3 J g-1 C-1

Now that the heat capacity is calculated for each trial, a mean can be figured out and then plotted to get a general trend as to how the type of metal affects the heat capacity of it.

Table 3: Average heat capacity of each metal

Metal Zinc Copper Aluminum

Average heat capacity Uncertainty () ( 0.6 0.3 0.9 0.2 0.9 0.1

d) Sample calculation to show the average heat capacity of each metal and its uncertainty

The average heat capacity is 0.60.3

Average heat capacity of each metal


Average heat capacity (J g-1C-1)





0 Zinc Copper Type of metal Aluminum

The error bars shown in the graph are the uncertainty of each data point. Refer to table 3 for exact values. As can be seen from the above graph, each metal has a different heat capacity. One can conclude that the heat capacity is in fact dependent on the type of metal as zinc had a different heat capacity than copper (0.6 and 0.9 respectively). Even though the data points showed that aluminum has the same heat capacity as copper, this is not necessarily true due to various errors, which will be discussed later. e) Sample calculation to show percentage error of each metal | | | |

Table 4: The following table presents the percentage error for each metal Theoretical value4 Experimental Percentage error (%) value 0.39 0.6 54 Zinc 0.39 0.9 131 Copper 0.90 0.9 0 Aluminum Conclusion: Based on the numerical figures obtained from this lab, it is safe to assume that the heat capacity is dependent on the type of metal. Zinc had an experimental value of 0.6 , while another metal such as aluminum had a heat capacity of 0.9 Each metal, dependent on its chemical properties needs a certain amount of energy to raise a one-gram sample by one degree Celsius. According to the obtained values, aluminum and copper had the highest heat capacity then zinc. Published scientific data can perhaps explain the difference of heat capacities between the different metals. Aluminum for example has a higher heat capacity than zinc. That being said, one reason for the variation is that each substance is made up of atoms that have different masses (Calorimetry Lab - Specific Heat Capacity par.3). The atoms in copper possess larger mass and therefore in equivalent one-gram samples, there are fewer atoms in the copper sample than aluminum. Thus, less heat is needed to increase the kinetic energy of the atoms in the sample, and raise the temperature by 1 C (Calorimetry Lab - Specific Heat Capacity par.3). Therefore, the specific heat capacity of aluminum is higher than that of copper. The larger the atoms of a metal, the lower the specific heat capacity. For the most part, the theoretical explanations support the data obtained. However, there are a few variations. Copper and zinc should presumably have the

The theoretical values were taken from the following link which is cited in mla form in the Works Cited page

same heat capacity but due to high percentage error, the data was altered. However, for the experimental value of aluminum, the data point was accurate as it showed 0% percentage error. For the other two metals, the percentage error was relatively high which could explain why the particulars of the trend did not match the theoretical trend. Despite this relatively high uncertainty, the data given showed a similar general trend. Evaluation: As aforementioned, the calculated percentage error was relatively high. Several discrepancies could account to this high value. One major error is heat loss, which could be mainly responsible for such high percentage error values. The experiment was not placed in a calorimeter, which insulates the physical reaction; instead it was put in glasses. The heat loss lowered the value of Q, which in turn resulted in a higher specific heat capacity than the actual. Hence, this error is systematic as it pushed the data above than the theoretical values. This error could simply be reduced by placing the water with the heated metal in a calorimeter, which minimizes heat loss as much as possible. This is because the system would be insulated disallowing any heat loss. Another error is that surface area of each metal was not kept constant. It is essential to control this because the higher the surface area, the more particles have a sufficient kinetic energy. When the metal was heated by heating the water, not all of the heat transferred to all the metal particles depending on the surface area. This is random error as the surface area could have been higher in one trial and lower in another trial and there was no benchmark; so data fluctuated in different directions depending on the surface area. This error could be minimized by ensuring all metals have the same surface area. Cutting the metals into these dimensions (2.0cm*2.0cm*0.3cm) is appropriate for approaching the prompted research question. The metals before heated were not scrubbed with sand paper, which means some of the metal may have reacted with water vapor or oxygen in the air. These chemical reactions that produced different products on the surface of the metal may have altered how much kinetic energy the atoms had and hence the specific heat capacity could be different. The possibility of the metals reacting with the air is a random error as it may have resulted in data fluctuations in both directions (up or down). This could be improved by scrubbing properly each metal sample with sand paper in order to ensure all of the unwanted substances that may have reacted are removed. The metals could also be put in acetone to properly clean it. The equipment used is appropriate to approach the research question however; they resulted in a relatively high degree of imprecision. This is due to the high uncertainty they resulted in. For example due to the high uncertainty of the thermometer, the calculated values had to be carried out to one significant figure only, which in result gave comparatively imprecise data. This again could account to the high percentage error. Despite the aforementioned random and systematic errors, the lab still provided a generally accurate trend that is relatively reliable. The equipment used was fairly valid except the disregard of the use of a calorimeter.

Works Cited "Calorimetry Lab - Specific Heat Capacity." Web. 1 Apr. 2012. <>. "Specific Heat Capacity Table." The Upper Canada District School Board. Web. 2 Apr. 2012. < e.html>.