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The Identification of an Unknown Metal as the Same or Different from Aluminum

Using Linear Thermal Expansion

Matt Butkowski and Evan Tarian

Macomb Mathematics Science Technology Center

Chemistry 10A

Hilliard / Supal / Dewey

24 May 2016
Table of Contents

Introduction…………………………………………………………………….1

Review of Literature...................................................................................3

Problem Statement/Hypothesis……………………...………………………7

Experimental Design..................................................................................8

Data and Observations…...........................................................................10

Data Analysis and Interpretation……………………………………………..16

Conclusion……………………………………………………………………...23

Application……………………………………………………………………...28

Acknowledgements……………………………………………………………30

Appendix

A: Formatting Formulas and Equations……………………...............31

B: Randomization Function …………………….…............................33

Works Cited……………………………………………………………..............35
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Introduction

There are an array of elemental properties, each of which can be used to

enhance the element’s usage and allow the element to perform specific functions

that others may not be able to do. Aluminum has many uses, some of which are

used in everyday life and society. These include the use of aluminum in cans,

cars, kitchenware, electric power lines, and computers, among others. Aluminum

is used in a variety of ways due to the fact that is relatively cheap, as well as hav

ing superior malleability (being easily shaped into something else without

breaking), high strength, and good thermal and electric conductivity. Through

linear thermal expansion, an intensive property which states that a metal will

expand or contract, based on whether it is being heated or cooled respectively,

these uses can be furthered and enhanced.

The purpose of the experiment that is going to be conducted is to

calculate the Linear Thermal Expansion (LTE) coefficient value for two sets of

metals to determine if the two sets are of the same metal. This was done by

measuring the original length of the metal, boiling the metal, calculating the

change in length of the metal, and calculating the change in temperature of the

metal.

A possible application of the research that was conducted includes its use

in power lines. Aluminum is ideal for making power lines due to its low density

and relatively light weight. Additionally, a kilogram of aluminum conducts double

the charge of other metals used for power lines, such as copper. However, on

hotter days, power lines may droop due to thermal expansion by the sun. Due to
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the aforementioned properties of aluminum, it is able to expand longer than other

metals, meaning power lines made of this metal will not snap as easily as others.

The method used to conduct the experiment is Linear Thermal Expansion.

LTE is the scientific process in which a metal expands or contracts in length due

to the heating and cooling of a metal. Linear Thermal Expansion allows metals to

be identified due to each metal's intensive LTE coefficient. This coefficient value

displays the rate of which a certain metal expands or contracts due to

temperature change.

Some uses of linear thermal expansion in the scientific community include

the fitting of mechanical parts and power lines. Thermal expansion is used to

expand certain parts so that they are able to fit around another part, such as

having a bushing fit around a shaft. The bushing is first heated so its diameter is

greater than that of the shaft, and then it is put over it and cooled to make for a

fit. Another example could be sagging power lines on a hot summer day. This is

because the heat expands the power lines, meaning that there is actually more

power line between the two poles, leaving the middle of the power line drooping

downwards. There are, however, many more uses of Linear Thermal Expansion

which can be found throughout one’s community.
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Review of Literature

There are several possible ways to identify two elements, and whether or

not they are the same or different. One such way is known as Linear Thermal

Expansion (LTE), or the change in the average separation between the atoms of

an object. In other words, it is the length at which the atoms of the element can

be pulled away from each other. LTE is an intensive property, which means it is a

physical property of a system, and does not rely on the system size or amount of

material in the system. According to the kinetic molecular theory, which states

that the atoms in a solid have a low kinetic energy causing them to move slowly

and take up a small amount of space (Askew). When the solid is heated the

atoms start to increase in velocity and take up more space causing the solid to

expand. When an object is cooled, the atoms tend to move around slower, which

decreases the surface area of the object. According to Piyarat Bharmane,

“Thermal expansion is used to characterize the different binding forces in solids

and also for the thermodynamic model. Moreover, it is also used in mechanical

applications to fit parts over one another.” In simpler terms, thermal expansion

defines the individual binding forces of a solid and is also used to fit parts to each

other, as has been described in the introduction.

The coefficient of Linear Thermal Expansion can calculate the change in

length through the equation

∆ L = α L0 ∆ T
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where ∆ L is the change in length, α is the coefficient, L 0 is the original length,

and ∆ T is the change in temperature (Bharmane).

This formula can be used to determine if an unknown metal matches the identity

of a known metal. To find the identity of an unknown metal, calculate the

constant α by completing the formula above and then compare the constant to

known values of constants from other compounds.

The known metal that will be used in the experiment is Aluminum.

Important values of this metal that will be considered during this experiment

include the density, specific heat, and linear thermal expansion coefficient. These

values are 2.7 g/cm3 (density), 0.921 J/g℃(specific heat), and 24 °C-1 x

10⁻6 (linear thermal expansion coefficient) (Densities of Solids) (Thermal

Expansion) (Table of Specific Heats). As a comparison, these same measures for

water are 1 g/cm3 (density), with the specific heat being 4.186 J/g℃. However,

since water does not expand in length, but rather in volume, the expansion

coefficient at 20 ℃ becomes 207 ℃ x 10⁻6. Another comparative example is

Magnesium, the twelfth element on the periodic table (whereas Aluminum is the

thirteenth). Magnesium has a density of around 1.74 g/cm 3, a specific heat of

1.020 J/g℃, and a Linear Thermal Expansion Coefficient of 25 ℃ x 10⁻6. These

values are close to those of Aluminum and thus help to create a percent error for

this experiment to determine if the unknown metal is Aluminum. By finding the

percent error, within a certain range, the unknown metal can then be identified.
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In addition, previous, similar research done by others will also be looked at

for possible hypotheses and conclusions, prior to conducting the experiment. For

instance, one experiment performed by Piyarat Bharmanee tried to determine the

linear coefficient of a metal by using single-slit diffraction laser technology. The

experiment was performed by attaching a piece of aluminum to an apparatus

with a single-slit opening at the top. As the metal was heated it would expand

along with the device it was attached to. The change in length was then

calculated by the increase in the distance of the slit.

Figure 1. Single-Slit Device

Figure 1, on the previous page, shows what the device used to calculate

the device looks like. As explained previously, the device heats the strip of

aluminum using a laser and the metal expands based on the kinetic molecular

theory. Although the experiment in the paper will be conducted using a different

method it shows another possible method used to calculate change in length for

the LTE coefficient. The experiment conducted throughout the paper will use an

LTE jig that will contract when the expanded metal is cooled thus determining the
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change in length, and giving the information needed to determine the LTE

coefficient.

Another similar experiment like the one which is to be performed uses a

unique type of apparatus. A figure of the apparatus is provided below.

Figure 2. Heating Apparatus.

The rusted brown color in Figure 2 indicates a copper rod. Heated water

was pumped through the hole in the rod until it reached a uniform temperature,

which would be the final temperature. Before the rod was placed into the water,

an initial temperature and initial length were determined. The trial was conducted

several times, and the data was then used to determine the linear thermal

expansion coefficient using the equation.
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Problem Statement

Problem Statement:

The purpose of this experiment is to determine if an unknown element is

the same as a given element, Aluminum, through the intensive property of Linear

Thermal Expansion Coefficient.

Hypothesis:

The unknown metal can be identified as Aluminum if the percent error is

within a 6.3 percent error and/or within an alpha level of 0.1.

Data Measured:

Several measurements will be found throughout the duration of this

experiment to identify the unknown metal. These measurements include the

Linear Thermal Expansion Coefficient (the dependent variable), which will be

calculated in °C−1 (per degree Celsius). It will be calculated by dividing the total

change of the length, ΔL, by the initial length, L ᵢ, and the total change of the

temperature, ΔT. The change of length will be calculated in millimeters. The initial

length will be found using a Linear Thermal Expansion jig and will be measured

in millimeters. The initial temperature of the metal will be assumed as equal to

the temperature of the water after two and a half minutes.
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Experimental Design

Materials:
Thermometer (0.1 ◦C) (2) Solid Aluminum Rods, (Al)
(3) Linear Thermal Expansion (LTE) Jig (0.001 mm) (2) Solid Rods of Unknown Metal
Water, (H2O), 100 °C Caliper (0.01 mm precision)
Metal Loaf Pan (36x12x12 cm) Timer
Tongs Hot Mitt
TI-Nspire Randomization Function Hot Plate

Procedures:

1. Randomize the order in which the metals will be tested using the TI-
Nspire randomization function (See Appendix x). 30 trials for aluminum rods
and 30 for unknown rods.

2. Randomize the order in which the jigs will be used using the TI-
Nspire randomization function. 30 trials for aluminum rods and 30 for
unknown rods.

3. Fill the baking pan with water and heat it to approximately 100°C.

4. Measure the original length of the aluminum metal being tested
using the caliper. Record in data table

5. Place the first metal rod into the boiling water for 2.5 minutes.

6. Using tongs, remove the metal from the baking pan. Take the
temperature of the water. Record in table as the initial temperature.

7. Place the metal into the LTE jig. Immediately record initial length of
the metal and record in it the data table. Leave it in the jig for 3 minutes.

8. Take the room temperature. This will be the final temperature.
Record in data table

9. Measure the final length after 3 minutes. Record in data table.

10. Repeat steps 3-9 for the unknown metals.

11. Repeat the steps 2-10 for 30 trials.
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Diagram:

Figure 3. Materials Used

Figure 3 displays the materials used to perform the experiment. The key

materials featured above include; the metals, the hot plate, the loaf plan, and the

LTE jig.
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Data and Observations

The data trials for the known metal, aluminum are recorded in the table

below. A correction factor of 0.05 millimeters was added to the change in length

for both experiments. This was added because when the metal is transferred

from the loaf pan to the jig is when the metal contracts at the fastest rate.

Table 1
Aluminum Linear Thermal Expansion Data
Change
Initial Change in Alpha
in
Trial Rod Length Temperature Coefficient
Length
(mm) (ºC) (°C-1 x 10-6)
(mm)
1 B 0.20 132.18 -78.4 19.300
2 A 0.17 129.35 -78.3 16.785
3 A 0.17 132.14 -76.3 16.861
4 B 0.19 129.24 -76.0 19.344
5 B 0.16 129.26 -77.4 15.992
6 A 0.21 131.96 -74.5 21.361
7 A 0.17 132.13 -75.7 16.996
8 B 0.19 129.14 -74.0 19.882
9 B 0.18 129.14 -78.3 17.801
10 A 0.18 129.20 -75.6 18.428
11 A 0.19 129.27 -75.4 19.493
12 B 0.20 131.92 -76.6 19.792
13 A 0.16 129.26 -76.1 16.266
14 B 0.20 132.22 -74.6 20.277
15 B 0.19 132.18 -74.6 19.269
16 A 0.18 129.24 -75.3 18.496
17 A 0.16 129.34 -76.5 16.171
18 B 0.20 132.16 -77.9 19.426
19 B 0.18 132.25 -75.1 18.123
20 A 0.14 129.20 -76.2 14.220
21 B 0.16 132.18 -72.9 16.605
22 A 0.19 129.36 -75.8 19.377
23 A 0.16 129.29 -75.9 16.305
24 B 0.16 132.08 -74.1 16.348
Trial Rod Change Initial Change in Alpha
in Length Temperature Coefficient
Length (mm) (ºC) (°C-1 x 10-6)
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(mm)
25 A 0.21 129.13 -70.4 23.100
26 B 0.17 132.11 -72.1 17.848
27 A 0.21 129.30 -75.0 21.655
28 B 0.21 132.24 -73.7 21.547
29 B 0.22 132.22 -74.9 22.215
30 A 0.18 129.25 -75.8 18.373
Average N/A 0.18 130.60 -75.5 18.589
Table 1, on the previous page, shows the data recorded as well as the

averages of each value for the Aluminum Linear Thermal Expansion experiment.

These results and values will be used as a comparison for the unknown metal

values to determine whether the unknown metal is Aluminum.

Table 2
Unknown Metal Linear Thermal Expansion Data

Change
Initial Change in Alpha
in
Trial Rod Length Temperature Coefficient
Length
(mm) (ºC) (°C-1 x 10-6)
(mm)

1 B 0.25 139.55 -78.8 22.734
2 A 0.24 139.25 -78.8 21.872
3 B 0.20 139.38 -79.0 18.164
4 A 0.22 139.68 -79.0 19.937
5 B 0.24 139.36 -76.8 22.424
6 A 0.24 139.71 -77.2 22.252
7 B 0.17 139.12 -74.4 16.424
8 A 0.24 139.12 -74.1 23.281
9 A 0.20 139.81 -75.9 18.847
10 B 0.21 139.74 -77.3 19.441
11 A 0.23 139.22 -78.1 21.153
12 B 0.22 139.66 -78.8 19.991
13 A 0.22 139.40 -74.7 21.127
Change
Initial Change in Alpha
in
Trial Rod Length Temperature Coefficient
Length
(mm) (ºC) (°C-1 x 10-6)
(mm)
14 B 0.14 139.54 -76.4 13.132
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15 B 0.23 139.62 -76.8 21.450
16 A 0.23 139.14 -76.3 21.665
17 A 0.20 139.27 -75.2 19.097
18 B 0.22 139.57 -73.1 21.563
19 B 0.19 139.26 -74.0 18.437
20 A 0.23 139.67 -75.8 21.725
21 B 0.21 139.63 -76.0 19.789
22 A 0.20 139.33 -76.3 18.813
23 A 0.32 139.61 -77.6 29.537
24 B 0.24 139.29 -78.2 22.034
25 A 0.21 139.63 -72.6 20.716
26 B 0.23 139.14 -75.2 21.982
27 B 0.24 139.60 -74.2 23.170
28 A 0.23 139.35 -75.4 21.890
29 A 0.21 139.60 -75.7 19.872
30 B 0.23 139.36 -75.6 21.831
Average N/A 0.22 139.45 -76.2 20.812
Table 2 shows the results from the trials completed with the unknown

metals as well as the averages for each data value. These results and values will

be used to determine if the unknown metal is the same as the known metal,

Aluminum.

Table 3
Aluminum Linear Thermal Expansion Observations

Trial Rod Jig Date Observations

1 B A 4/25/16 Metal rolled on the table
2 A B 4/25/16 Metal rolled around in the jig
3 A A 4/25/16 Water splashed out of the loaf pan
4 B C 4/25/16 Clean transfer
5 B C 4/25/16 Water refilled prior to trial
6 A A 4/25/16 Metal rolled in the jig for 2 seconds
Trial Rod Jig Date Observations
7 A B 4/25/16 Metal rolled on the table
Metal was in water for about 3 seconds before the timer
8 B B 4/25/16
started
9 B C 4/25/16 Clean transfer
10 A A 4/25/16 Metal dropped on table
Metal out of water for approx. 5 seconds and rolled into
11 A C 4/26/16
jig
12 B B 4/26/16 Metal rolled on table
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Out of the water 30 seconds late. Trouble removing from
13 A A 4/26/16
water. Metal rolled on the table.
14 B C 4/26/16 In water for extra 30 seconds
15 B A 4/26/16 First 2 seconds not fully submerged
16 A C 4/26/16 Clean transfer
17 A A 4/26/16 Metal rolled on table
18 B B 4/26/16 Additional 4 seconds in water
19 B A 4/26/16 Water splashed on table
20 A C 4/26/16 Water refilled prior to trial.
21 B A 4/26/16 Clean transfer
22 A B 4/26/16 Clean transfer
23 A A 4/26/16 Metal rolled in Jig for 2 seconds
24 B C 4/26/16 Clean transfer
25 A B 4/26/16 partially unsubmerged for the entire trial
26 B A 4/26/16 Metal rolled in Jig for 2 seconds
27 A C 4/26/16 Clean transfer
28 B B 4/26/16 Clean transfer
Partially out of water. Dropped tongs, in water for an
29 B A 4/26/16
extra 25-30 seconds, water splashed
30 A C 4/26/16 In water for extra 20 seconds
Table 3, above, displays the observations that were recorded during the

Aluminum metal trials. These observations include which rod was used, as well

as which jig it was placed in. Additionally, observations such as whether the rod

was fully submerged in the water, and whether the transfer of the metal from the

loaf pan was smooth or not, have been included. If no major observations were

made, the trial is marked “Clean Transfer”.

Table 4
Unknown Metal Linear Thermal Expansion Observations

Trial Rod Jig Date Observations

1 B B 4/25/16 Dropped on Table
2 A C 4/25/16 Water splashed on table
Water refilled prior to trial. Tongs in water
3 B A 4/25/16
early. Rod dropped on Table
4 A B 4/25/16 Water refilled prior to trial.
5 B A 4/25/16 In water extra 10 seconds
6 A C 4/25/16 Metal dropped on table
7 B A 4/25/16 Clean Transfer
8 A B 4/25/16 Metal rolled in Jig
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Metal rolled in Jig. Water residue in jig. Not
9 A A 4/25/16
cleaned prior to trial
10 B B 4/25/16 Thrown in water instead of gently set in
11 A C 4/27/16 Clean Transfer
12 B A 4/27/16 Water splashed on table
13 A A 4/27/16 Clean Transfer
14 B C 4/27/16 Clean Transfer
15 B B 4/27/16 Metal rolled in Jig
16 A C 4/27/16 Water splashed on table
17 A A 4/27/16 Clean Transfer
18 B B 4/27/16 Clean Transfer
19 B A 4/27/16 Water splashed on table
20 A B 4/27/16 Metal rolled in Jig
21 B C 4/27/16 Water splashed on table
22 A A 4/27/16 Water splashed on table
23 A B 4/27/16 Clean Transfer
24 B C 4/27/16 In water 2 seconds before clock started
25 A A 4/27/16 In water for 10 seconds in clock
26 B C 4/27/16 In water for 5 seconds before clock
27 B B 4/27/16 In extra splashed into pan
28 A C 4/27/16 In pan extra 5 seconds
29 A A 4/27/16 Metal rolled in Jig
30 B C 4/27/16 In water extra 10 seconds
Table 4, above, shows the observations for each trial of the unknown

metal. For instance, some trials had water splashing out of the loaf pan while the

transfer to the jig occurred, and others had extended transfer times because the

metal was in the water for a few extra seconds. There are some trials however,

that went along smoothly without any major observations, these trials are marked

“Clean Transfer”.
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Data Analysis and Interpretation

The purpose of the experiment conducted was to calculate the Linear

Thermal Expansion (LTE) coefficient value for two sets of metals to determine if

the two sets are of the same metal. This was done by measuring the original

length of the metal, boiling the metal in loaf pan, calculating the change in length

of the metal by using an LTE jig, and calculating the change in temperature of the

metal. The LTE coefficient, in inverse degrees Celsius, was found by dividing the

change in length by the product of the initial length times the change in

temperature.

The data can be considered reliable because the experiment was

conducted with the concepts of control, randomness, and repetition in mind. The

aluminum metal rods where used as a control for the unknown metal, the trials in

the experiments were chosen randomly, and the experiments each had 30 trials

to assure that a statistical test could be conducted. Also, it should be noted that a

correction factor of 0.05 was added to the change in length to account for the

loss of length during transfer from the loaf pan to the Linear Thermal Expansion

(LTE) jig.

Table 5
Aluminum Percent Error
Alpha
Percent
Trial Metal Coefficient
Error
(°C-1 x 10-6)
1 B 19.300 -13.06
2 A 16.785 -24.39
3 A 16.861 -24.05
4 B 19.344 -12.87
5 B 15.992 -27.96
6 A 21.361 -3.78
7 A 16.996 -23.44
Trial Metal Alpha Percent
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Coefficient
Error
(°C-1 x 10-6)
8 B 19.882 -10.44
9 B 17.801 -19.81
10 A 18.428 -16.99
11 A 19.493 -12.19
12 B 19.792 -10.85
13 A 16.266 -26.73
14 B 20.277 -8.66
15 B 19.269 -13.20
16 A 18.496 -16.68
17 A 16.171 -27.16
18 B 19.426 -12.49
19 B 18.123 -18.36
20 A 14.220 -35.94
21 B 16.605 -25.20
22 A 19.377 -12.72
23 A 16.305 -26.56
24 B 16.348 -26.36
25 A 23.100 4.06
26 B 17.848 -19.61
27 A 21.655 -2.45
28 B 21.547 -2.94
29 B 22.215 0.07
30 A 18.373 -17.24
Average N/A 18.589 -16.27
Table 5 shows the percent errors recorded for each individual trial of the

aluminum metal as well as the average percent error of all the experiments. The

average percent error for the unknown metal experiment was -16.27%.

Table 6
Unknown Metal Percent Error
Alpha
Percent
Trial Metal Coefficient
Error
(°C-1 x 10-6)
1 B 22.734 2.41
2 A 21.872 -1.48
3 A 18.164 -18.18
4 B 19.937 -10.19
5 B 22.424 1.01
6 A 22.252 0.23
7 A 16.424 -26.02
Alpha
Percent
Trial Metal Coefficient
Error
(°C-1 x 10-6)
8 B 23.281 4.87
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9 B 18.847 -15.10
10 A 19.441 -12.43
11 A 21.153 -4.72
12 B 19.991 -9.95
13 A 21.127 -4.83
14 B 13.132 -40.85
15 B 21.450 -3.38
16 A 21.665 -2.41
17 A 19.097 -13.98
18 B 21.563 -2.87
19 B 18.437 -16.95
20 A 21.725 -2.14
21 B 19.789 -10.86
22 A 18.813 -15.26
23 A 29.537 33.05
24 B 22.034 -0.75
25 A 20.716 -6.69
26 B 21.982 -0.98
27 A 23.170 4.37
28 B 21.890 -1.40
29 B 19.872 -10.49
30 A 21.831 -1.66
Average N/A 20.812 -6.25
Table 6 shows the percent errors recorded for each individual trial of the

unknown metal as well as the average percent error of all the experiments. The

average percent error for the unknown metal experiment was -6.25%. The

aluminum value has ten percent higher percent error than the unknown metal

value. This could affect the reliability of the data because the unknown value was

closer to the true LTE value. However, it was decided that the data was relatively

reliable but the following statistics should be taken with caution.
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Figure 4.Aluminum Data Boxplot and Normal Probability Plot

Figure 4, above, gives a boxplot of the aluminum data with a five point

summary, as well as a normal probability plot, with the equation for the line of

best fit for the aluminum data. The boxplot shows that almost all of the data

collected is below the actual true alpha coefficient value. The data also seems

fairly spread apart, being only very slightly skewed to the left. However, because

the data seems lower than the true value, the metal rod could be placed in the jig

or loaf pan for a longer period of time to acquire results closer to this value.

According to the normal probability plot the data is fairly normal with an even

number of points above or below the normal line.

Figure 5. Unknown Metal Data Boxplot and Normal Probability Plot
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Figure 5 gives a boxplot of the unknown metal data with a five point

summary and a normal probability plot, with the equation for the line of best fit for

this data.

The boxplot for the unknown metal data also shows that a majority of the

data collected, over 75%, is below the true value alpha coefficient, being 22.2

℃⁻¹, and is heavily skewed to the left. However, unlike the aluminum data

values, the unknown metal data shows two outliers, one above and one below

the mean and true value. The outlier 29.537 may be due to the large change in

length as opposed to the other trials from being exposed to the water for

additional time, while the lower outlier of 13.132 may be due to a very small

change in length overall. Using these outliers, it can be predicted that the alpha

coefficient value has a direct relationship with the change in length of the metal

rod. This suggests that, in the future, longer time in the jig or loaf pan could

produce results closer to the true value because the additional time heating could

cause additional expansion. The normal probability plot shows that the data is

fairly normal with about an even number of point above or below the normal line.

To determine the significance of the results it was decided to complete a

two-sample t test. This statistical test was chosen because the samples came

from two independent populations. This test can be conducted because certain

conditions have been met. These conditions are; the two experiments were both

simple random samples from two distinct, independent populations and both

populations are approximately normal. These conditions have been met because

the trials were conducted randomly, the Aluminum trials and unknown trials are
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independent from each other, and by looking at the descriptive statistics above-

can be concluded to be normal.

Ho: µk = µu

Ha: µk ≠ µu

Figure 6. Hypothesis of the Two Sample t test

Figure 6 displays the null and alternative hypothesis of the statistical test

where Ho is the null hypothesis, Ha is the alternative hypothesis, µ k is the true

mean of the aluminum LTE coefficient, and µu is the true mean of the unknown

metal LTE coefficient. The null hypothesis is: the true mean of the aluminum LTE

coefficient is equal to the true mean of the unknown metal LTE coefficient

meaning if true it can be concluded that the metals are the same. The alternative

hypothesis is: the true mean of the aluminum LTE coefficient is not equal to the

true mean of the unknown metal LTE coefficient meaning if true it can be

concluded that the LTE coefficient of the two metals is not the same. The

equation used to conduct the two sample t test is

S
S
(¿¿ 1)2 (¿¿ 2)2
+
n1 n2
√¿
xx 1−¿ xx
2

¿
¿

where xx is the mean of each sample, S is the standard error of each sample,

n is the sample size of each sample, one is the aluminum sample, and two is the

unknown metal sample.
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Figure 7. Results of the t test

Figure 7 displays from the results of the two-sample t test the null

hypothesis is rejected because the p-value of 0.000816 is less than the alpha

level of 0.05. There is evidence that the LTE of the Aluminum sample is not

equal to that of the unknown metal. There is only a 0.08% chance of getting LTE

coefficients this extreme by chance alone if the null hypothesis is true, meaning

that the LTE coefficient are equal. Since this is so unlikely to occur the linear

thermal expansion coefficients of the metal must not be the same.
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Conclusion

The overall objective of this research was to determine if an unknown

metal was the same as, or different than, a given metal, Aluminum. This was to

be accomplished through the use of a process called Linear Thermal Expansion

(LTE). It was hypothesized that if the percent error of the experiment was within a

6.3 percent error, and the p-value was not within an alpha level of 0.1, the

unknown metal could be identified as Aluminum.

Using this hypothesis and the results that were obtained, the unknown

metal was thought to be different than the Aluminum metal, which was given.

This was concluded because the difference in percent error between the two

trials was 10.02 percent. Additionally, the p-value was calculated to be 0.000816,

well within the alpha level of 0.1. This supports the idea that the two metals were

similar, however the aforementioned percent error had a large enough difference

from what was expected that it was decided the two were different. However, it

was later determined that the unknown metal was also a sample of aluminum.

Thus, the hypothesis was rejected.

Overall the data does not support the hypothesis. The true value for LTE

coefficient of aluminum is 22.2 °C-1 x 10-6. After the experiment was completed,

the mean of the trials with the aluminum sample was calculated to be 18.589 °C -1

x 10-6. After the experiment was completed, the mean of the trials with the

unknown metal sample was calculated to be 20.812 °C -1 x 10-6. While the

unknown metal sample was within the 6.3 percent error limit established in the

hypothesis it was determined that it was not close enough to the mean from the
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aluminum trials to be used to determine that the metals were the same. A two-

sample t-test was conducted and a p-value 0.000816 was found, well within in

the 0.1 alpha level set. This along with the lower than true value alpha

coefficients led to it being concluded that the metals were different. The data

does not support the hypothesis though because the metals were actually the

same.

The results of this experiment and others similar to it do not support each

other. The results of this experiment say that if one of the two conditions are met

(not being within the alpha level and within a certain percent error), the metals

are similar. However, other experiments show that both of these conditions must

be met in order to identify the metals as similar. To obtain similar results,

adjustments to the design may need to be made, along with the correction of

multiple errors, which are expressed below, along with their effects on the overall

research.

The experimental design affected the research in many ways, some

positive and some negative. The randomization process was beneficial to the

experiment because it allowed multiple trials to be run at once. On the contrary,

the process of removing the metal from the loaf pan and transferring it to the LTE

jig may have altered the results. This is because the time immediately after the

removal from the loaf pan is when the metal contracts at its highest rate causing

the initial part of the contraction to be not recorded in the data. A correction factor

of 0.05 mm was added to counter the effect but it is possible that the metal

contracted more than this, still affecting the data. Taking the temperature also
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proved to be an issue. Often the thermometer had not finished measuring the

initial temperature when the metal was removed from the loaf pan causing the

temperature to not be accurate.

To expand upon this research, more time would certainly be needed, and

perhaps produce more accurate results. That aside, other improvements could

include better timings, as sometimes a timer did not start as soon as the metal

rod was placed in the loaf pan or jig. This of course would also provide with more

accurate results, even if they are only slightly different from those that were

collected. Additionally, some trials included the rod not being fully submerged in

the water, since the water had not been refilled prior to that particular trial. This is

important to note in that the portions of the rod that were not submerged may not

have been as heated as those that were, meaning those portions, and possibly

the entire rod, did not expand as much as they or it should have. One final error

that was made throughout the trials was that the metal rod was left in the loaf pan

for either too long or too short of a timespan. This would mean those trials may

have expanded more or less than others, depending on the greater or fewer

number of seconds it was left in the loaf pan. These trials have an effect on the

overall data, and may have influenced it one way or the other. Perhaps with

larger loaf pans, less errors in timing, and an extended period of time to perform

the experiment, the results would be more accurate and closer to the true value.

If others were to perform this experiment, some suggestions could be

offered so the same mistakes are not made. To start, be sure to always have

someone ready to remove the rod when need be so that the rod is not in the loaf
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pan for longer than it should be. An increased time in the loaf pan for one trial, as

opposed to the others, could change the data and sway it one way or another. A

large number of trials that are left in the loaf pan too long could drastically

change the data, and cause it to be very different from these results or the known

true value of the metal. Some instances in which the rod was in the loaf pan too

long were due to an inability to remove rod, as it became stuck between two

sides of the loaf pan, so a larger loaf pan may help as well. Additionally, a larger

team of three or four people may make the research go along more smoothly.

Perhaps have one person recording the data, one person the designated timer,

one person to place the rod into and remove the rod from the loaf pan, and one

to control the jigs. This would make the process easier, as the timing could be

more accurate and trials which started directly or soon after each other could be

handled easier, as opposed to having to rapidly switch back and forth between

recording data, removing the rod, starting a timer etc..

Additional experiments which could be performed to identify the element

include comparing properties such as the specific heats of the elements, the

densities of the elements, as well as malleability and ductility. These properties

can be tested more simply by weighing the element for mass and finding the

volume, therefore finding density, or by testing the strength of an element by

pulling it apart or shaping it into a new form to test malleability and ductility. Other

researchers, as well as certain industries which use metals in their products or

for other uses, could use this information to be sure the metal that they are using

fits any standards they may have for using it, as well as to determine other
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properties of the metal. For example, if the Linear Thermal Expansion coefficient

is different than that of the given metal, other properties of the metal can then be

identified once the metal itself is identified.
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Application
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Figure 8. Aluminum Can and Dimensions

Figure 8, above, displays the aluminum can designed along with its

measurements. This product is most commonly used to hold carbonated and

alcoholic beverages. These include soda and pop, as well as beer. These cans

are also often recycled and then made into another product, if of course the

metal being used for the can is recyclable. This is one reason metal cans like

these are often made from aluminum. Aluminum is very easy to reuse and

recycle, so it can be used over and over again as the same, or a different

product. Another reason why aluminum is used is because of its reactivity, which

is important because the can holds a number of acids and bases which could

cause cans made of other metals to either rust, or even explode due to the can’s

contents. A third reason aluminum is used for this type of product is due to the

workability of the aluminum, as the parts being put together to create the can are

stamped out on a flat piece of the metal. Finally, aluminum has great malleability,

meaning it can be made into a number of shapes with breaking much or at all.

Aluminum was found to cost 0.002 cents per gram. The aluminum can

designed has a mass of 422.28 grams. When the mass is multiple by the cost it

is found that the can costs $.84456 or about 84 cents.
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Acknowledgments

We would like to thank numerous people for their guidance with this

project. First, we would like to thank the 10thgrade teaching staff at MMSTC; Mrs.

Hilliard for her scientific suggestions and analysis, Mr. Supal for design and

paper formatting suggestions, and Mrs. Dewey for her mathematical analysis.

Next, we would like to thank our parents for their constant support throughout this

project and our attendance at this center. We would also like to thank our

classmates for providing suggestions and creating a competitive work

environment. Most importantly, we would like to thank each other because even

through the sacrifices and time that this research requires we were able to go

through with it and finish on time.
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Appendix A: Formatting Formulas and Equations

To calculate the Linear Thermal Expansion (LTE) coefficient use the

formula

⍺= �L/(L₀ * �T)

where ΔL is the change in length in millimeters, Lo is the original length in

millimeters, and ΔT is the change in temperature in degrees Celsius. A sample

calculation of the formula is provided below.

� = �L/(L₀ * �T)

-.20
= * 10 ⁶
139.55 * -78.8

= 18.188

Figure 9. Sample LTE Calculation

Figure 9 shows a sample calculation of the LTE coefficient.

A percent error was used to determine if the data was valid. To calculate

the percent error, use the formula

Experimental Value  True Value
% error   100
True Value

where the experimental value is the LTE coefficient recorded from the data and

the true value is known scientific value.

Experimental Value  True Value
 100
True Value
%error =

19.300−22.2
= ∗100
22.2
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¿ -13.06

Figure 10. Sample Percent Error Calculation

Figure 10 shows how to find the percent error using the linear thermal

expansion data.

A two sample t test was used to determine if the data was statistically

significant. The equation for a two-sample t test is

S
S
(¿¿ 1)2 (¿¿ 2)2
+
n1 n2
√¿
xx 1−¿ xx
2

¿
¿

where xx is the mean of each sample, S is the standard error of each sample,

n is the sample size of each sample, one is the aluminum sample, and two is the

unknown metal sample.

S
S
(¿¿ 1)2 (¿¿ 2)2
+
n1 n2
=t
√¿
xx 1−¿ xx
2

¿
¿

18.589-20.812

√2.1211 2 2.70402
30
+
30
=t

¿ -3.54318

Figure 11. Two Sample T-Test Equation
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Figure 11 displays a sample two sample t test equation that was used to

determine the t value.
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Appendix B: TI-Nspire Randomization Function

To randomize the order in which the metals will be tested complete the

following steps

1. On a calculator page click Menu, Probability, Random, and Seed and enter a
number to be a seed.

2. Click Menu, Probability, Random, Integer and enter (1,2) into the calculator. If
the calculator returns 1 then the trial will conduct metal A and if it returns 2
then the trial will conduct metal B.

3. The next trial will conduct the metal not previously conducted. This allows
multiple trials to be conducted at once while still achieving randomness and
keeping equal trials.

4. Repeat steps 2-3 another 14 times in order to have a total of 30 trials.

Figure 12. Metal Random Calculations
Figure 12, above, displays what a calculator screen should model after.

To randomize the order in which the jigs will be used complete the following step

1. On a calculator page click Menu, Probability, Random, and Seed and enter a
number to be a seed.

2. Click Menu, Probability, Random, Integer and enter (1,3) into the calculator. If
the calculator returns 1 then the trial will use jig A, if it returns 2 then the trial
will use jig B, and if it returns 3 then the trial will use jig C.

3. The next trial will use a jig not previously used. This allows multiple trials to be
conducted at once while still achieving randomness and keeping equal trials.
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To do this enter (1,3) until a number representing a jig not currently in use
appears.

4. Repeat steps 2-3 another 14 times in order to have a total of 30 trials.

Figure 13. Jig Random Calculations
Figure 13 displays what a possible screen may look like for the

randomization jig.
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