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CHM 431




ID NUMBER : 2016675256

GROUP : AS 246 3B




Calorimetry : Hesss Law


1. To compare the heat capacities of a coffee cup calorimeter and a copper calorimeter.
2. To determine the standard enthalpy of formation magnesium oxide Hof.


Calorimetry is an accurate process for determining an enthalpy change in a reaction.

Calorimetry, as defined by the Nelson Chemist text book, is the technological process of
measuring energy changes in a chemical system. By performing an experiment using
calorimetric based, one can measured the change in heat (kinetic) energy for exothermic
reaction (released heat) or endothermic reaction (absorbed heat) in a thermodynamic system.
The heat gain and released cannot be directly measured during the reaction, hence energy heat
represents as q can be measured in Joules in the equation q=mcT. The change of heat can be
calculated based on mass, temperature change and specific heat of the substance that
absorbing or losing heat.

This experiment is conducted to determine the standard molar enthalpy of formation of

magnesium oxide

Mg(s) + 2HCl(aq) MgCl2 (aq) + H2(g) Hrxn (A) (1)

MgO(s) + 2HCl(aq) MgCl2(aq) + H2O(l) Hrxn (B) (2)

The 3rd reaction requires the standard heat of formation, H (kJ/mol) for the formation of water
from hydrogen and oxygen.

H2 + O2 H2O H)f(H2O) (3)

Hesss law also states that it does not matter how many steps it takes for a reactant to become
a product, the enthalpy change will remain the same. The change in enthalpy, H, is the heat (qp)
associated with a reaction at constant pressure, in which no work is involved other than
"expansion work" or "compression work", associated with volume changes of the system.

The experiment is performed at standard conditions (atmospheric pressure and 25oC). All the
experiments are done in a done in a double Styrofoam cup (coffee cup) calorimeter and copper

A) Heat capacity of calorimeter

Make sure the double nested Styrofoam cups are clean and dry
1. A burette was used to deliver the exactly 50 cm3 of tap water into the calorimeter.
The cover and the thermometer was replaced. The water temperature was recorded
for 4 minutes at one minute intervals.
2. 50 cm3 of hot water (40- 50oC above the room temperature) was measured by
graduated cylinder and was poured into a beaker. By the used of another
thermometer, the temperature of the hot water was recorded and then was poured
completely into the calorimeter containing cold liquid at the 5th minute. The lid was
replaced and carefully the water was stirred with the thermometer. The temperature
was recorded every 15 seconds for the next 3 minutes.
3. Steps (1) and (2) was repeated by using the copper calorimeter.

B) Reaction 2: Magnesium with hydrochloric acid

1. 1.0-1.1 g of magnesium powder was weighed. The exact weight used was recorded.
2. 50 cm3 of 2 M HCl was drained from a burette into the calorimeter. The cover and
thermometer were replaced. The temperature of the HCl was recorded every minute
for four minutes. At the fifth minute, the magnesium powder was quickly poured into
the HCl. The lid was replaced and the contents were stirred carefully in the
calorimeter with the thermometer. The temperature for the next 3 minutes at 15
seconds intervals.

C) Reaction3: Magnesium oxide with hydrochloric acid

1. The magnesium oxide was weighed between 1.6-1.8 g. The exact weigh used was
2. A step (2) in B was repeated.
D) Reaction4: Hydrogen gas with oxygen gas
For safety reasons, this value will not be experimentally determined in the laboratory. It
has been professionally determined and verified and the value is listed in standard
reference sources. The assignment is to find the value, in kilojoules per mole (kJ/mol)

1. 2.0 M hydrochloric acid
2. Magnesium oxide powder
3. Magnesium powder



Temperature of Coffee Cup

Calorimeter with Hot Water
45 y = -0.2795x + 42.989
25 Temperature/ C
20 Series2
15 Linear (Series2)
0 2 4 6 8 10

The extrapolated temperature is 42.98 o

Heat capacity of calorimeters

Coffee cup calorimeter

Calculation of data
Part 1, Using Mg
T = Tfinal - Tinitial
T = 47 C -28 C = 10 C
90.8 cm = 1.0926 g
90.8 cm = 1.0926 g
10.0 cm = x
90.8x = 10.93
x = 0.120 g Mg
0.120/24.31 g/mol = 0.00495 mol Mg
q = mcT
q = 50g HCl x 4.18 J/gC x 12 C
q = 2510 J 2.510kJ
H = -q
H= -2.510 kJ
-2.510/0.00495 = -507.15 kJ/mol

Part 2, using MgO:

to find the enthalpy of MgO(s) + 2H+(aq) H2O (l) + Mg2+(aq)
T = Tfinal - Tinitial
T = 50C -31 C = 19C
1.621 g MgO/ 40.31 = 0.0402 mol MgO
q = mcT
q = 50 g HCl x 4.184 J/gC x 19 C
q = 3974.8 J or 3.9748 kJ
H = -q
H= -3.9748. kJ
-3.9748/ 0.0402 mol = -98.88 kJ/mol

to find the enthalpy of Mg + 1/2O2 MgO

using these equations and their enthalpies:
Enthalpy: -507.15 kJ/mol Mg(s) + 2H+(aq) Mg2+(aq) + H2 (g)
Enthalpy: +98.88 kJ/mol H2O (l) + Mg2+(aq) MgO(s) + 2H+(aq)
Enthalpy: -258.8 kJ/mol H2 + 1/2O2 H2O
Enthalpy: - 667.07 kJ/mol Mg + 1/2O2 MgO

By combining the 3 reactions above, and therefore their enthalpies, we can determine the
enthalpy of the equation of the combustion of Mg (Mg + 1/2O2 MgO) is -667.07 kJ/mol
-507.15 + 98.88 + -258.8 = -667.07 kJ/mol

A. The theoretical enthalpy value for the combustion of magnesium in the reaction

Mg + 1/2O2 MgO is -607.10 kJ/mol. Our value is -667.07 kJ/mol. Differences in these values
could have been from incorrect lab procedure. The standard enthalpy for the reaction Mg +
1/2O2 MgO is -607.1 kJ/mol. Finding the percent error:

Percent Error = (-667.07- -607.10) x 100 = 9.88 %


Possible sources of error could have occurred from improper lab technique. The scale might be
fluctuating slightly when measuring the magnesium oxide powder which possibly giving us the
moderately incorrect weight of powder. This could have inflated or deflated the enthalpy
calculated. Besides that, when moving the magnesium oxide powder from the weighing boat to
the Styrofoam cup, a small amount of magnesium powder slipped onto the lab table. The
enthalpy change might be inflated due to the decreased mass of the magnesium oxide for the
reaction. Lastly, when pouring the 50 mL of HCl into the coffee cup, a small amount spilled the
cup. This decreases the amount of acid added, resulting in an inflation of the enthalpy value

We calculated the change in enthalpy using the specific heat capacity formula. We had used it
before but we learned a lot by using it in a real life setting. At first, when calculating enthalpy, we
made the mistake of putting in the grams of Magnesium and Magnesium Oxide for m (in the
equation q = mcT). We were getting enthalpies close to zero. We had to go back to the
equation and use the amount of HCl for m (in the equation q = mcT) to get the correct enthalpy
and making this mistake at first in this experiment permanently taught us that lesson.

This experiment taught how to use Hesss law to calculate the energy change in a reaction
through experimentation. We learned how to use the sum of the individual reactions in our
reaction to calculate its change in energy with experimental data.

In this lab we also learned how to convert and alternate units. We learned how to convert
kilojoules to joules and also that a temperature changes in Kelvin is equal temperature change
in Celsius.

In conclusion, the data collected supported our hypothesis. The reaction in this experiment was
exothermic with the negative enthalpy value. Hesss law could be used to calculate the heat of
combustion of magnesium. The magnesiums heat of combustion values of our group are quite
close from the expected value. There was a small percent error of 9.88% and that was due to
incorrect lab procedures. The incorrect lab procedures might be the reason for the percent error
of our results.


1. Fowler,R., Guggenheim, E.A. (1939/1965). Statistical Thermodynamics. A Version of

Statistical Mechanics for Students of Physics and Chemistry, Cambridge University
Press, Cambridge UK, page 57
2. Preston, T (1894/1904). The Theory of Heat, Second Edition, revised by J.R. Cotter,
Acillan, London, pages 700-701.
3. Polik, W (1997). Bomb Calorimetry. Retrieved from