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Construction of Calorimeters and Calculation of Change in Enthalpy of Acid

-
Base Reaction
Santiago Charry, Christopher Stanley, Abigail Harrison, Micah Perwein

Abstract: The purpose of the lab was to construct two different calorimeters, calculate their heat
capacities, use them to find the change in enthalpy of the acid-base reaction between NaOH and
HCl, and find if a change in volume of the acid and/or base had any effect on the change in
enthalpy. The calorimeters were assembled using a variety of materials including Styrofoam
cups, duct tape, cardboard, and thermometers. The heat capacities were discovered by recording
changes in water temperature when hot water was added to cold water in the calorimeters. The
change in enthalpy of the acid-base reaction between NaOH and HCl was found by recording
temperature changes when the substances were reacted within the calorimeters and using
enthalpy equations to calculate the change in enthalpy of the reaction. A variation in the volumes
of each substance was tested over a series of trials to determine if it had any effect on the change
in enthalpy of the reaction. The results of the experiments indicated that our first calorimeter had
a heat capacity of 57.53 J/C, our second calorimeter had a heat capacity of 14.46 J/C, and the
enthalpy of the reaction between NaOH and HCl was -75.63 KJ/mol. The variation in volume of
each substance did not appear to have an effect on the change in enthalpy per mole of product.
Introduction
Two different calorimeters were assembled using a variety of household materials. After
their construction, their heat capacities were calculated. The calorimeters were then used to find
the enthalpy of the acid-reaction between NaOH and HCl and observe correlation between
volume of substances and change in enthalpy. The ability to construct and use calorimeters to
find enthalpies of chemical reactions is often applicable to scientists doing lab work. According
to J. Phillipson from the Department of Zoology at the University of Durham, “ecologists
interested in population and community energetics have been stressing the need for a more
complete knowledge of the energy content of biological materials.”
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. The ability to construct
different types of calorimeters and find enthalpies of reactions might enable ecologists to find the
energy content of such biological materials. The ability to calculate the enthalpy of reactions also
proved useful for scientists analyzing the behavior of antigens and antibodies. By observing that
the enthalpy of reactions was proportional to a decrease in water activity in the reactions of
lysozyme with a specific antibody, the scientists were able to provide further support that water
molecules bound to the antigen and antibodies are conserved upon formation for stability.
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In
this report, readers can expect to learn how to construct effective calorimeters out of common
materials, how to calculate their heat capacities, and how to use them to find the change in
enthalpy of acid-base reactions. In doing this, they will gain an understanding of how to create an
effective calorimeter to insulate heat, and learn how to find the energy content of different
reactions.
Experimental
Construction of Calorimeters
Calorimeter #1: The construction of the first calorimeter required the use of two Styrofoam cups,
each with a height of 8.4 cm, a diameter of 4.4 cm at the bottom of the cup, and a diameter of 7.5
cm at the top of the cup. In addition, it required 16.1 mL of water, duct tape of the same length as
the circumference of the top of the cup, and two circles of cardboard with the same
circumference as the cup’s opening. To assemble the calorimeter, one of the Styrofoam cups was
filled with 16.1 mL of water. The second cup was then inserted into the first cup, deep enough
that the water level of the first cup reached its rim without overflowing. Duct tape was then
wrapped around the length of the first cup’s rim against the side of the second cup once, sealing
the water in. Two circles with the same circumference as the cup’s opening were cut out from
cardboard. These circles were stacked on top of each other, creating a double-layer of cardboard,
and duct taped together along their edges. A hole large enough to provide a snug fit for our
thermometer to enter the calorimeter was poked into the double layer of cardboard. The
cardboard circle was then inserted into the opening of the Styrofoam cup, completing our
calorimeter.
Calorimeter #2: The construction of the second calorimeter involved three Styrofoam cups of the
same dimensions as those of the first calorimeter, 32.2 mL of water, two pieces of duct tape of
the same length as the circumference of the cup’s rim, and a Styrofoam circle with the same
circumference as the cup’s opening. To assemble this calorimeter, one of the cups was filled with
16.1mL of water. A second cup was inserted into the first, deep enough that the water level of
the first cup reached its rim without overflowing. The rim of this cup was sealed against the side
of the second cup using a strip of duct tape with the same length as the rim’s circumference. The
second cup was then also filled with 16.1 mL of water. The third Styrofoam cup was inserted
into the second cup, deep enough that the water level of the second cup reached its rim without
over flowing. The rim of the second cup was sealed against the side of the third cup using a strip
of duct tape with the same length as the rim’s circumference, as previously done with the first
and second cups. A circle with the same circumference as the cup’s opening was then cut out
from a piece of Styrofoam. A hole large enough to provide a snug fit for our thermometer to
enter the calorimeter was poked into this circle of Styrofoam. The circle was inserted into the
opening of the third Styrofoam cup, completing our second calorimeter.
Calculation of Heat Capacities of Calorimeters
The heat capacity of each calorimeter was found by recording changes in water temperature
when hot water was added to cold water within the calorimeters. 80 mL of water was measured
in a 100-mL graduated cylinder. The graduated cylinder was then inserted into a beaker filled
with ice in order to cool down the water. In the meantime, 80 mL of water was measured in a
different 100-mL graduated cylinder then poured into a 250-mL beaker. The beaker was placed
on a hot plate to heat this water. Caution was taken not to allow the water to heat past boiling
point, so as to prevent it from evaporating. Let it be noted that 85mL of hot and cold water was
used when to find the heat capacity for calorimeter #2. After time was given to allow for a
significant change in temperature, the temperatures of the hot and cold water were recorded. The
cold water was poured into the calorimeter, and the hot water was immediately added. The
highest stable temperature of the combined water was recorded. Calorimetric equations were
used with the newly obtained data to find the heat capacity of the calorimeter. This method was
repeated with the second calorimeter to identify its heat capacity.
Calculation of the Change in Enthalpy for Acid-Base Reaction Between NaOH and HCl
The calculation of the change in enthalpy for the acid-base reaction between NaOH and HCl was
done by recording temperature changes when the substances were reacted within the calorimeters
and using enthalpy equations to calculate the change in enthalpy of the reaction. A variation in
the volumes of the substances was added to observe correlation between volume of substances
and enthalpy of the reaction. This was done in a series of six trials, three of which taking place in
the first calorimeter, and the other three taking place in the second calorimeter. First, specific
amount of the reactants were obtained: 80 mL of 1M NaOH and 80 mL of 1M HCl for trials 1 &
2, 60 mL of 1M NaOH and 100 mL of HCl for trials 3 & 4, and 100 mL of 1M NaOH and 60 mL
of 1M HCl for trials 5 & 6. The initial temperature of each substance was then taken. Both
reactant were added to the calorimeter (calorimeter 2 used for trials 1, 3, and 5; calorimeter 1
used for trials 2, 4, and 6). The highest stable temperature during the reaction within the
calorimeter was recorded, and used in enthalpy equations to find the change in enthalpy for the
acid-base reaction. Once all six trials were completed, the average change in enthalpy per mole
was calculated. Waste management throughout the lab involved throwing away unneeded scraps
during construction of calorimeters, neutralizing the acids and bases and pouring the neutralized
product in the drain, and rinsing glassware and equipment with deionized water and allowing it
to air dry.
Results and Discussion
Calculation of Heat Capacities of Calorimeters
The data table below (table 1) displays the recorded temperatures of the hot and cold water used
in the calculation the heat capacities of calorimeters 1 &2.
Table 1: Initial and Final Temperatures of Hot and Cold Water
Data for Calorimeter #1 Data for Calorimeter #2
Relative
Temperature of
Water
Initial
Temperature
Final
Temperature
Initial
Temperature
Final
Temperature
Cold Water 16.8 C 48.8 C 12.8 C 49.7 C
Hot Water 86.3 C 48.8 C 88.1 C 49.7 C

Since the cold water was added to the calorimeter first, and then had its temperature recorded,
the calorimeter was assumed to have the same initial and final temperature as the cold water.
These values were then used to calculate the heat capacity of the calorimeters. The heat capacity
(Ccal) of the calorimeters demonstrates the amount of heat in kilojoules that escapes the
calorimeter for every change in degree of Celsius or Kelvin. The greater the heat capacity, the
more heat escapes per change in degree. The calculations for this are shown below.
Calculations for Calorimeter # 1
80ml = 80g
Qcold = 80g  4.184 J/(gK)  32K = 10711.04 J
Qhot = 80g  4.184 J/(gK)  -37.5K = -12552.0 J
10711.04J + -12552.0J = -Ccal  32K
57.53 J/K = Ccal
Calculations for Calorimeter # 2
85ml = 85g
Qcold = 85g  4.184 J/(gK)  36.9K = 13123.12 J
Qhot = 85g  4.184 J/(gK)  -38.4K = -13656.58 J
13123.12J + -13656.58J = -Ccal  36.9K
14.46 J/K = Ccal
A possible source of error in attaining these values is any escape in heat that may have occurred
when capping the calorimeters, however, such an escape in heat would likely have occurred for
the reaction between NaOH and HCl as well, since capping the calorimeters worked in the same
way for both experiments.
Calculation of the Change in Enthalpy for Acid-Base Reaction Between NaOH and HCl
The following table (table 2) displays the volume of the reactants used for each trial, the initial
temperatures of reactants NaOH and HCl, and the final temperatures of their produced
compound. It was assumed that the NaOH and HCl had the same initial temperature, since both
were being kept in the same environment.
Table 2: Volume and Initial and Final Temperatures of NaOH and HCl
Trial # Volume of
1M NaOH
Volume of
1M HCl
Calorimeter
used
Initial
Temperature
Final
Temperature
1 80mL 80mL 2 23.6C 31.2C
2 80mL 80mL 1 23.8C 31.3C
3 60mL 100mL 2 25.8C 33.9C
4 60mL 100mL 1 23.4C 30.7C
5 100mL 60mL 2 23.3C 29.3C
6 100mL 60mL 1 23.4C 29.3C

Using this data, enthalpy equations could be used to find the change in enthalpy of the acid-base
reactions in each trial. These calculations are shown below. It is assumed that mL=g since the
reaction results in water, which has a density of 1mL/g, so the conversion from mL to gram is
not shown. Since the substances have a molality of 1, the moles of each substance are equal to
their liters, so this conversion factor is not shown in the calculations. Furthermore, since the
reaction has a 1:1 ratio between all substances in a balanced chemical equation
(NaOH+HClNaCl+H
2
O), enthalpy can be noted in units joule per mole of any substance
involved in the reaction. Since this 1:1 ratio causes whichever reactant with the lowest volume to
be the limiting reactant, then moles of substance reacted are always based on whichever reactant
has the lowest volume.
Trial #1
Qsolution = 4.184 J/(gK)  160g  7.6K = 5087.7 J
Qcal = 14.46 J/K  7.6K = 109.896 J
5087.7J + 109.896J = -Qrxn
-5197.6 J = Qrxn
80 mL NaOH = .08 L = .08 moles
-5197.6J/.08moles = -64970J/mol = -64.97 KJ/mol = Hrxn
Trial #2
Qsolution = 4.184 J/(gK)  160g  7.5K = 5020.8 J
Qcal = 57.53 J/K  7.5K = 431.475 J
5020.8J + 431.475J = -Qrxn
-5452.275 = Qrxn
80mL NaOH = .08 L = .08 moles
-5452.275J/.08moles = -68153.4375 J/mol = -68.15 KJ/mol = Hrxn
Trial #3
Qsolution = 4.184 J/(gK)  160g  8.1K = 5422.46 J
Qcal = 14.46 J/K  8.1K = 117.126 J
5422.46J + 117.126J = -Qrxn
-5539.586J = Qrxn
60mL NaOH = .06 L = .06 moles
-5539.586J/.06moles = -92326.4 J/mol = -92.33 KJ/mol = Hrxn
Trial #4
Qsolution = 4.184 J/(gK)  160g  7.3K = 4886.9 J
Qcal = 57.53 J/K  7.3K = 419.97 J
4886.9J + 419.97 = -Qrxn
-5306.87J = Qrxn
60mL NaOH = .06L = .06 moles
-5306.87J/.06moles = -88447.8 J/mol = -88.45 KJ/mol = Hrxn
Trial #5
Qsolution = 4.184 J/(gK)  160g  6.0K = 4016.6 J
Qcal = 14.46 J/K  6.0K = 86.76 J
4016.6J + 86.76J = -Qrxn
-4103.4J = Qrxn
60mL HCl = .06 L = .06 moles
-4103.4J/.06moles = -68390 J/mol = -68.39 KJ/mol = Hrxn
Trial #6
Qsolution = 4.184 J/(gK)  160g  5.9K = 3949.7 J
Qcal = 57.53 J/K  5.9K = 339.43 J
3949.7J + 339.43J = -Qrxn
-4289.13J = Qrxn
60mL HCl = .06 L = .06 moles
-4289.13J/.06moles = -71485.5 J/mol = -71.5 KJ/mol = Hrxn

(-453.79 combined total KJ/mol Hrxn) / 6 trials = -75.63 KJ/mol average Hrxn
The results of the calculations did not show a clear correlation between the variation in volume
and the change in enthalpy of the reaction. Changing the volume of the limiting reactant further
may have highlighted a trend more clearly.
Shown below are the theoretical calculations for the change in enthalpy of the reaction between
NaOH and HCl.
NaOH Δ
f
H
o
(kJ/mol) = -469.15
HCl Δ
f
H
o
(kJ/mol) = -167.2
NaCl Δ
f
H
o
(kJ/mol) = -407.27
H
2
O Δ
f
H
o
(kJ/mol) = -285.82

NaOH + HCl  NaCl + H
2
O
(-407.27 + -285.82) – (-469.15 + -167.2) = -56.77 KJ/mol Hrxn
Shown below are calculations for percent error of our experimental calculation of the change in
enthalpy.
(-75.63 experimental value - -56.77 theoretical value) / -56.77 theoretical value = .33 = 33%
error
According to the calculations, our experiment resulted in a 33% error in the calculated change in
enthalpy. A possible source of error in these calculations may be in the heat capacity of the
calorimeters. The calorimeters were allowed to sit for seven days after the measurement of heat
capacity. Upon return, the insulation of the calorimeters, which were supposed to hold 16.1mL of
insulating water between the Styrofoam cups tightly enough that they were silent if shaken, now
made a swishing noise if shaken lightly, suggesting that there was now air as well as water
between the Styrofoam cups of the calorimeter. This may have changed the experimental heat
capacity to a value different than what was used for calculation, and resulted in skewed data.
Another possible error that may have contributed to the 33% error is the temperature of the
substances themselves. There is the possibility that the graduated cylinders they were collected in
had been washed in water of differing temperature, which may have contributed to a temperature
change caused not by the reaction, but by the initial substance of each substance itself. Since we
only recorded the initial temperature of one of the reactants, if the other reactant was a different
temperature it may have contributed to the change in temperature.
Conclusion
According to the testing done in the lab, the first calorimeter constructed had a heat capacity of
57.53 J/C and the second had a heat capacity of 14.46 J/C. The change in enthalpy of the acid-
base reaction between NaOH and HCl was -75.63 KJ/mol with a 33% error, and there was no
clear trend between volume of substance reacted and enthalpy of reaction, although such a trend
may have emerged with further testing of more drastic volume changes. Also, although we
varied the amount of each reactant for the six trials, four of the trials used the same amount of
limiting reactant, which would not differ the amount of change in enthalpy. This would be
another reason that the trend between volume of substance and enthalpy of reaction was unclear.
The construction and application of calorimeters as exemplified in this lab is a significant skill
for chemists to develop. Such a skill can prove useful for chemists even in the field of food
science, in which determining the amount of calories in food is necessary for labeling so that
consumers can properly monitor their diet.
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Using calorimeters to find enthalpy changes can be
applied to many fields of science and is therefore significant for scientists to understand.
References
(1) Phillipson, J. A Miniature Bomb Calorimeter for Small Biological Samples
Oikos 2007, 15, 130–139.
(2) Goldbaum, F. A.; Schwarz, F. P.; Eisenstein, E.; Cauerhff, A.; Mariuzza, R. A.; Poljak,
R. J. The Effect of Water Activity on the Association Constant and the Enthalpy of Reaction
Between Lysozyme and the Specific Antibodies D1.3 and D44.1. J. Mol. Recognit. 9, 6–12.
(3) Miller, D. S.; Payne, P. R. A Ballistic Bomb Calorimeter. Br. J. Nutr. 1959, 13, 501–508.