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Specific heat

Specific heat is defined as the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of a material by 1 degree Celsius. Thus specific heat has units of J/g-°C and, since it is defined for a given amount of material, is an intensive property of a substance. Substances vary greatly in their specific heat values. Some have very low specific heats, which means that you only have to add a little bit of energy to see a big increase in temperature. For example, metals, although they conduct heat well, actually have very low specific heats (ranging from 0.1-0.5 J/g-°C). Other substances have very high specific heats, which means that you can add a lot of heat to them but see only a small increase in temperature. Water, for example, with a specific heat of 4.184 J/g-°C has one of the highest specific heats. This property of water allows it to absorb or release large amounts of heat without changing its temperature dramatically. This is a very improtant feature in our lives since it allows the large bodies of water on the earth's surface to moderate our climate so that temperatures do not get too hot or too cold. Specific heat values are not constant with temperature. Near absolute zero specific heats are typically close to zero, but rise steadily as temperature increases. By the time room temperature is reached specific heat values for most substances have started to level off, however, so we can treat the specific heat as a constant for temperatures in the range of 25 - 100°C, the range we will work in for this experiment. (As a sidenote, Albert Einstein was able in 1907 to explain the temperature dependence of specific heat using the (then) new quantum theory. This explanation, along with Einstein's 1905 explanation of the photoelectric effect, were critical in establishing the credibility of quantum theory among the scientific community of the time.) Heats of Reaction and Hess's Law Heats of reaction can be measured directly by performing the reaction in a constantpressure calorimeter. The heat is measured by recording temperature changes in the surroundings of the reaction, typically the water in the aqueous solution that contains the reactants. From the temperature change, the mass, and the specific heat of the water in the surroundings one can calculate how much heat the water absorbed or released during the reaction. Using the Law of Conservation of Energy, the reaction

and the product is not pure since the Mg metal also reacts with the nitrogen in the air to make Mg3N2. . Sometimes the reaction is too difficult to control and a direct measurement of the H is not possible. We will accomplish the formation of MgO in three steps. Last of all you will use the H for formation of H2O from H2 and O2 (this value will be given to you. the H of this reaction is measured indirectly be measuring the H for each of a series of steps that lead from reactants to products. So instead. Dividing the heat by the number of moles of a reactant allows us to then calculate a change in enthalpy ( H) for the reaction in units of kJ/mol. In the first you will measure H for the single replacement reaction between Mg with HCl to produce MgCl2 and H2. so we cannot make direct measurements easily. which states that the H is the same whether or not it is measured in a single step or a series of steps. we can calculate the overall H by adding up the H values for the individual steps. Using Hess's Law of Heat Summation. the formation of MgO from the elements occurs when you burn Mg metal in air.must have released or absorbed the same amount of heat but with the opposite sign. In the second you will measure the H for the double replacment reaction between MgO and HCl to produce MgCl2 and H2O. But this reaction is rather violent. not measured). For example.