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PHY 171B Lab 4

Specific Heat of Metals

Purpose
To investigate the transfer of heat between substances, particularly the effect of specific heat
capacity on heat transfer, and to identifiy an unknown metal based on its specific heat capacity.

Apparatus
Computer, Transfer of Heat between Metal and Water simulation (available at
http://group.chem.iastate.edu/Greenbowe/sections/projectfolder/flashfiles/thermochem/heat_me
tal.html )

Introduction
The specific heat capacity (often just called specific heat) of a substance is the amount of heat
needed to raise the temperature of certain mass by 1 degree Celsius. To change the
temperature of an object from an initial temperature to a final temperature requires a total
quantity of heat that is equal to specific heat capacity x mass x temperature change. In equation
form, that is Q = cmT.

When submerging a hot metallic object in water, heat will flow from the metal into the water until
the metal and the water both have the same temperature. The amount of heat that flows out of
the metal is equal to the amount of heat that flows into the water. You will verify this and use it
to calculate the specific heat of two unknown metals.

Setup
Step 1: On your computer, open the simulation. The simulation includes an insulated
container partially filled with water. The metal cube will be heated and submerged, the
temperature will be read by the thermometer passing tnrough the lid, and the stirrer will
mix the water to maintain a constant temperature throughout.

Step 2: Click on the metals in the list on the left side of the page. The name and specific
heat of the metal is listed below the temperature readout on the right. In the simulation,
the specific heat is given as the amount of heat in Joules needed to change the
temperature of one gram of a substance by 1 Kelvin (which is the same temperature
change as 1 degree Celsius).

Procedure

PART A: HEAT TRANSFER OF KNOWN METALS

Step 1: Select silver from the list of metals. Use the sliders to set the mass of the metal to
120.00 g and the temperature of the metal to 220.00° C. Leave the water set to a mass of
30.00 g and a temperature of 20.00° C. Then click the start button.
Step 2: Record the specific heat of the metal, the mass of the metal, the initial temperature of
the metal, and the final temperature of the metal. The temperature reading will fluctuate slightly,
but you should record a value near the middle of the temperature readings.
Metal Silver
Specific Heat (J g / K) 0.234
Mass (g) 120.00
Initial Temperature (°C) 220.00
Final Temperature (°C) 56.61

Step 3: Calculate the amount of heat lost by the metal using the equation below. Show your
work.
Heat = specific heat x mass x (final temperature – initial temperature)
= 0.234*120*(329.61 – 493)
= - 4587.9912 J

Step 4: Record the specific heat of the water, the mass of the water, the initial temperature of
the water, and the final temperature of the water. The temperature reading will fluctuate slightly,
but you should record a value near the middle of the temperature readings. Include appropriate
units.
Water
Specific Heat (J g / K) 4.18
Mass (g) 30
Initial Temperature (°C) 20
Final Temperature (°C) 56.61

Step 5: Calculate the amount of heat gained by the water using the equation below. Show your
work.
Heat = specific heat x mass x (final temperature – initial temperature)
= 4.18*30*(329.61- 293)
= 4590.8940 J
Step 6: Click the Reset button to start again. Repeat the procedure from steps 1-5 for the other
three metals and fill in the data table below.
Metal Gold Copper Iron
Specific Heat (J g / K) 0.128 0.385 0.452
Mass (g) 120.00 120.00 120
Initial Temperature (°C) 220.00 220.00 220.00
Final Temperature (°C) 41.81 73.85 80.38
Heat lost by metal (J) - 2736.9984 -6752.1300 -7572.9888
Heat gained by water (J) 2736.9170 6752.1295 7572.9888

Step 7: Was the heat gained by the water the same as the heat lost by the metal each time?
(You may ignore one value being positive and the other being negative.) If not, why do you think
that is?
There was a slight difference between the heat gained by water and that lost by the
metals. The difference is attributed to heat losses to the stirrer, thermometer and the
container.
Step 8: If you were performing this experiment in a classroom: heating a piece of metal, moving
it into the container, and measuring the temperature change, what might be the cause if the
heat gained and heat lost were different each time?
Heat loss would occur to the atmosphere during transfer of the metal, in addition to
losses that will occur inside the container to the stirrer, container itself and the
thermometer.

PART B: SPECIFIC HEAT CAPACITY OF UNKNOWN METALS

Step 1: Select Metal X from the list of metals. Use the sliders to set the mass of the metal to
120.00 g and the temperature of the metal to 220.00° C. Leave the water set to a mass of
30.00 g and a temperature of 20.00° C. Then click the start button.

Step 2: Record the final temperature of the metal and water in the table below, the click the
reset button.
Step 3: Select Metal Y and repeat step 1. Record the final temperature in the table below.
Step 4: For both Metal X and Metal Y, calculate the heat gained by the water. Record the
values in the data table. Show your work for one calculation.
heat = specific heat x mass x (final temperature – initial temperature)
C*120(-134.39) = 4.18*30*65.61
C = 0.510 J/g-K
Step 5: The heat gained by the water is the same amount of heat lost by the metal. Now
calculate the specific heat of the unknown metals. Record the values in the data table. Show
your work for one example.
specific heat = heat / mass / (final temperature – initial temperature)
In equation form: c = Q/(m T)

Step 6: If Metal X and Metal Y were based on real metals, you should be able to match the
specific heat capacity you calculated to the known specific heat capacity of a metal. Compare
the specific heat capacity your calculated to the list below the data table and record the name of
the metal that best matches your calculated value. Do this for both Metal X and Metal Y.
Step 7: How well do the calculated specific heat capacities match the values in the table? Do
you think the metal you matched to Metal X and Metal Y are accurate? Why or why not?
The values calculated are slightly different from those in the table provided, and this may
not be accurate. The error in the values may be due to rounding down of the values
obtained in previous calculations.

Metal X Metal Y
Final Temperature (°C) 85.61 82.97

Change in Temperature of -134.39 -137.03


Metal (°C)
Change in Temperature of 65.61 62.97
Water (°C)
Heat gained by water (J) 8227.494 7896.438

Specific Heat Capacity of 0.510 0.480


Metal (J g / K)
Name of Metal Titanium Steel

Table of Specific Heat Capacities


Aluminum 0.897 Steel 0.490
Brass 0.375 Tin 0.228
Bronze 0.370 Titanium 0.523
Lead 0.129 Zinc 0.388
Nickel 0.461