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Mapa Institute of Technology

School of Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Biological Engineering and Materials Science Engineering

Heat of Combustion
Salen, Vladimir A. , Salvacion, Sarah Katrina V. , Santos, John Harvey

Calorimetry is defined as the process to measure the quantity of heat that the process of combustion obtained. The
objectives of the experiment are for the students to be familiar with bomb calorimeter and its water handling system.
It aims to determine and compare the heat of combustion of aromatic and non-aromatic compounds and to be able to
use the calorimeter to study the compounds. Through the use of a bomb calorimeter, the three samples namely;
benzoic acid, naphthalene and sucrose were tested for their specific heat of combustion. The bomb calorimeter gave
the gross heat. These theoretical values were used to be compared to its literature value. Upon comparison, the
percent difference for each of the samples was 0.71%, 0.57%, 0.0064% respectively for benzoic acid, naphthalene
and sucrose. Through the data gathered, compounds with higher aromaticity have greater heat of combustion due to
their stable aromatic ring and strong bonds in comparison to non-aromatic compound.
Keywords: Calorimetry, heat of combustion, non-aromatic compound, aromatic compound, combustion

Energy is released in the form of heat in the
combustion of compound or substance in
combustion reaction under standard condition. It
is also known as the heat of combustion. The
amount of heat released during combustion
process is identified through the use of what we
called bomb calorimeter [1]. Combustion is the
compound react with oxygen.
Calorimetry is an experimental technique used to
determine the change in energy in both physical
technique focused on the energy released or
absorbed in the form of heat due to the change in
temperature [2].
Bomb calorimeter is constant volume type of
calorimeter used to determine the amount of
energy transfer in the form of heat between the
system and the surroundings. This calorimeter
produces carbon dioxide and water in an excess
oxygen as the combustion reaction goes to
completion. A sealed metal container in a bucket
containing water is where the reaction occur .
The temperature of the water in the bucket
increased as the energy in the form of heat is
released due to reaction of subtances in the
sealed metal container passing through the walls
of sealed container to the water in the bucket
Experiment 6 | Group 6 | Dr. Allan Soriano | 24 October 2014

[3]. The change in the temperature of the water

from its initial condition to its final condition is
accounted as the change in internal energy which
is related to the enthalphy change of the
substance [4].
The change in enthalphy can be
the following equation:

computed by

H = U + (pV)

equation 1

(pV) = nRT

equation 2

where H is the enthalphy change, U is the

internal energy change and n is the change in
the number of moles of all gases in the reaction
system [4].
The heat realesed from the combustion of the
sample can be computed by the following
U = qv,sample = Ccal T

equation 3

Ccal = qv,known /T

equation 4

where qv,sample is the heat released by the sample,

qv,known is the heat released by the known sample
and Ccal is the heat capacity of the calorimeter[4].
The objectives of the experiment are to
familiarize the calibration of bomb calorimeter, to
identify and to compare the heat of combustion
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Mapa Institute of Technology

School of Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Biological Engineering and Materials Science Engineering

of a non-aromatic compound and an aromatic

compound such as napthalene, benzoic acid and
sucrose, and to use calorimetry in studying the
differrent aromaticity of compounds [4].
The material used in order for the experiment to
be done are the Parr 6200 Bomb Calorimeter with
Parr 6510 Water Handling System, analytical
balance, bomb holder, and ignition thread.
Napthalene, benzoic acid and sucrose are the
reagent used for this experiment. The heats of
combustion of the naphthalene, benzoic acid, and
sucrose are to be determined.

oxygen inlet tube on top of the bomb near the

gas outlet valved. Lastly, fill the bomb with
excess oxygen coming from the oxygen tank by
pressing O2 Fill on the screen of the calorimeter.
There is a sound produce on the bomb signaling
that the bomb is completely filled by oxygen.
Avoid the bomb to shake.
Second thing need to do was to prepare the Parr
6510 Water Handling System. First, get a some
bucket of hot water. Then, by opening the cover
of the water system, put the obtain hot water
inside of it. Make the required temperature to be
steady upon putting water to Water Handling
Third thing need to do was to prepare the
calorimeter. Again, get a bucket of hot water. Put
it inside the calorimeter on its proper orientation.
Then, let your laboratory assisstant to put the
ignition wire connected in the calorimeter on the
bomb. Finally, put the bomb in the steel bucket
containing hot water inside the calorimeter.
Avoid the bomb to shake upon putting it on the
calorimeter. Closed the calorimeter and start it.

Figure 1: Parr 6200 Bomb Calorimeter with Parr

6510 Water Handling System

First thing need to do was to prepare the sample

and the bomb. First of all, opened the calorimeter
and put out the steel bucket and the bomb out of
it. Unscrew the bomb by removing the bomb
head. If there is water molecule on it, wipe it
gently by using soft tissue. Place the bomb head
on its stand. Weigh the required amount of
substances needed in the sample holder by using
analytical balance. As the empty sample holder is
placed on analytical balance, dont forget to press
the tare button before to start to weigh the
needed amount of substances. Put the sample
holder containing substances on its holder that is
connected to the bomb head. Then, get a piece of
ignition thread. Twist it on the wire above the
sample holder and must touch the sample
substances. Ensure that the ignition thread and
the sample holder with substances are placed
properly. Close the bomb by putting the bomb
head to screwed it up. Close the gas outlet valve
on top of the bomb. Put the oxygen valve on the
Experiment 6 | Group 6 | Dr. Allan Soriano | 24 October 2014

Fourth thing to do was to start the calorimeter

and record the data. As the calorimeter was
closed and the bomb was ready, press the Start
button the screen of the calorimeter. Enter the
exact weigth of the sample substances on the
calorimeter as the calorimeter asked for it. Then,
press Ok button. Wait for the calorimeter to
make sound twice as a signal of success
experimentation. Record the needed data as it
shown on the screen of the calorimeter.
Last thing to do is to disassemble the bomb and
prepare it for the next sample substances. As
the data needed was collected, open the
calorimeter. Get out the bomb and the steel
bucket containing water of the calorimeter and
let your laboratory assistant unplug the ignition
wire on the bomb. Let the pressure inside the
bomb to let it go by opening the gas outlet valve
slowly. As the pressure is completely removed,
unscrew the bomb head. Finally, wash the bomb
and its part with running water and prepared for
the next sample.
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Mapa Institute of Technology

School of Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Biological Engineering and Materials Science Engineering

Results and Discussion

Table 1 shows the change in
temperature, measured heat of
combustion, literature value of heat
of combustion and percentage error
of the samples.

Figure 4: Sucrose [10]

Based on the table 1, we can see

that sucrose has the highest
Sample Mass, g
mass but it turns out that its
Change in Temperature,
2.0611 change in temperature and its measured H is
the lowest among the three samples. On the
Measured H of
other hand, Naphthalene has the smallest mass
and turns out that its change in temperature and
Combustion, cal/g
its measured H is the highest among the three
Literature Value of H
samples. Benzoic acid is in the middle of those
of Combustion, cal/g
Percentage Error
0.57% two samples. As we seen in the figure 3, 4, 5,
benzoic acid contains aromatic group which is
characterized by alternating single and double
We all know that combustion can be defined as
bonds ring formation as well as naphthalene that
the process of the reaction of a specific substance
is more stable than sucrose that has cyclic
with oxygen. It involves burning of a particular
alkanes ring formation. Arranging the three
substance and also the rate of reaction happened
samples based on their stability in decreasing
to it [5]. The energy released during that
order is Naphthalene, Benzoic Acid, and Sucrose,
reaction is called heat of combustion. Therefore
respectively [7]. The stable the ring formation,
we can say that the heat of combustion is related
the more stronger the bond correspond to higher
to the molecular bond that break during reaction
heat of combustion. The more aromatic
which can be used to determined the aromaticity
compound, the more bond, therefore the heat of
of a particular compound.
combustion also increases.
Benzoic Acid

Calorimetry is defined as the process to measure

the quantity of heat that the process of
combustion obtained. In this experiment, we
used the principle of adiabatic calorimetry
because we obtained the heat transfer based on
the reaction of the substances and no heat
gained or loss by the system [6].

In the experiment, the benzoic acid is used to

calibrate the bomb calorimetry. Benzoic acid is
used because it burns completely with oxygen. It
also because of its well established literature
value and high purity.
Since the percentage error of the three sample
are all below 1%, we can say that the sample
was well prepared as the bomb calorimeter
function accurately too.

Figure 2: Benzoic Acid


Figure 3: Napthalene

Experiment 6 | Group 6 | Dr. Allan Soriano | 24 October 2014

Aromatic compounds release more heat than that

of non-aromatic compounds. The compound
containing more aromatic groups are expected to
produce more heat due to its carbon to carbon
double bonds is broken. This shows that the more
aromatic compounds appear in the structure, the
more stable a compound become. The process of
combustion favors an exothermic process, given
by the fact that the heat produced are all in
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Mapa Institute of Technology

School of Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Biological Engineering and Materials Science Engineering

positive values. This means that more heat is

released during the reaction that was absorbed.
It can be concluded that the experiment was
done carefully and accurately. This can be
supported by the fact that the differences
between the literature value and the theoretical
value are all less than 1.00 %.
[7] Atkins, P., De Paula, J. (2006). Atkins
Physical Chemistry 8th edition. Oxford University
Press, New York.


[8] U.S. Pharmacopeia. Benzoic Acid.

[1] Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Heat of


[9] The Pherobase. Napthalene.

[2] Whitten, Kenneth; Davis, Raymond; Peck,

Larry; Stanley, Goerge. Chemistry . 9th Edition.

[10]Eggling, Sue. (2001). Sucrose. Clackamas


[3] Helmenstine, Anna Marie. Coffee Cup

Calorimetry and Bomb Calorimetry.
[4] Caparanga, Alvin; Baluyut, John Ysrael;
Soriano, Allan. Physical Chemistry Laboratory
Manual. Part 1. 2006
[5] Levine, Ira N. (2008). Physical Chemistry 6th
edition. McGraw- Hill Science/ Engineering/ Math,
New York
[6] Hyperphysics. Adiabatic Process.

Experiment 6 | Group 6 | Dr. Allan Soriano | 24 October 2014

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