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Updated Feb 22, 2013 - FINAL

An investigation of how the colour of a Bunsen burner ame can impact on time taken for water to boil.

Introduction The control of heat ow and the temperature of things can affect lives in many ways - for example, the clothes that are worn, the activities people get involved in, the environment, the weather, the structure of buildings and much more. Heat is a form of energy and is measured in Joules. It will always ow from a hotter object to a cooler object. The more heat energy that is put into an object, the higher its temperature will get and the faster the particles that make up that object will vibrate. The object will also expand. When an object loses heat, its particles will move more slowly and the object will contract (Nardelli, 2004). Temperature is different to heat. Temperature is a measure of how hot or cold something is, and is a measure of how fast its molecules are vibrating (Nardelli, 2004). It is usually measured in degrees celsius. A Bunsen burner is a piece of equipment used in the laboratory to heat things up. There are two different ames - a blue one and a yellow one. The blue one has the collar open, and so has more oxygen from the air. This experiment is going to test which ame is hotter, by boiling some water.

Research question:

The purpose of this experiment is to nd out how colour of ame impacts on how long it takes for water to reach 100 degrees.


Updated Feb 22, 2013 - FINAL


The independent variable is: (the one variable that you will change) The dependent variable is: (The variable that you are investigating)

The colour of the ame (yellow or blue)

The time taken for each ame to heat water to 100 degree (minutes).

Control Variables
The factors that you keep the same, so that the experiment is a fair test. Try and list at least 5.

Factors to be controlled: 1 The same type of Bunsen burner and volume of gas burned.

Reason it needs to be controlled:

How it will be controlled:

2 The same volume of water

Because different bunsen The same bunsen burner will be burners might produce used for all tests. Gas tap will be different amounts of heat. fully turned on for all tests. More gas burned will produce more heat. Because different volumes of The same volume of water will be water will take different measured for each test using a amounts of time to heat up and beaker. so cannot be compared. Because the size, shape and The same type of beaker will be temperature of the beaker used for all tests. could affect how quickly it absorbs heat. Several of the same type of beakers will be available for use and alternated to ensure that they are always at room temperature. Because if the water in each beaker has a different amount of water then they will take different amounts of time to heat up and cannot be compared. A thermometer will be used to measure the initial temperature of the water. If it is too high, cold water will be added. If it is too low, warm water will be added.

3 The same size and temperature beaker

4 The same initial temperature of the water

5 The same room temperature

Because room temperature could impact on how much heat is absorbed by the beaker.

The thermostat will be adjusted on the air conditioner to ensure that the room temperature is constant. All tests will be conducted on the same day.

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Hypothesis: What will happen to the dependent variable as the independent variable is changed?
The blue ame will boil the water quicker. Why? This will happen because the ame has more oxygen available and as a result, it has a hotter ame. What would that relationship look like on a graph? Try to sketch a graph to illustrate this:


Temperature (C)

Blue ame _____ Yellow ame _____

Time taken to boil (min)

Materials 2x beakers (250mL) Water (400mL) 2x tripods 2x gauze mats 2x Bunsen burners (the same) 1x thermometer 2x stopwatches Matches and splints 2x heatproof mat Kettle

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Diagram One: Set-up of equipment to test how long it takes for each coloured ame to boil water.

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Refer to your diagram.

Method: 1. Set up equipment as shown in Diagram 1.

Use exact quantities

2. Fill each 250 mL beaker with 200mL of water.

3. Measure the temperature of the water in each beaker with a thermometer. If required, add cold or hot water until each beaker is at 15 degrees. Ensure each is still 200 mL in volume. Make controlled variables clear 4. Put both beakers on the gauze mat of each tripod.

5. Put the same type of Bunsen burner beneath each beaker.

Independent variable is clear

6. Light the Bunsen burners with both collars closed at the same time.

7. Keep the collar closed on only one (so there is one blue ame and one yellow ame).
What is being measured and how is clear.

8. Start the stopwatches and wait one minute.

9. After one minute, measure the temperature of the water in each beaker every thirty seconds until each boils. Record temperatures.

The test has been repeated

10. Repeat steps 1- 9, twice. Ensure that new beakers that are not hot are used.
How data will be processed included.

11. Average the temperature of the water for each time period.

12. Draw a line graph showing the average time taken for the water to boil with each colour ame. Type of graph that will be drawn is included

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Risk Assessment:

Safety Hazard - source of

potential harm/accident:

Precautions - measures to Accident Response

prevent any accident/harm: Wear heat proof gloves. -what should be done if accident/harm does occur: Put hand under cold water immediately.

Spill boiling water on hand

Handle hot beaker with tongs.

Inform teacher. One student stand next to spill Inform teacher. Slipping on water spilled. to warn students while other student gets paper towel to clean it up. Inform teacher. If glass breaks, one student Broken glass / cut. should stand next to it to warn students while other student Seek medical help under Inform teacher immediately.

informs the teacher and cleans teachers permission. the glass using the dust pan.

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Descriptive title
Results Table 1: Temperature of the water (C) over time using a blue and yellow Bunsen burner ame
Colour of ame Time (seconds) Yellow Temperature (oC) Trial 1 15 20 15 27 37 48 65 80 88 93 98 100 13 19 15 28 37 45 64 60 86 92 97 101 Trial 2 16 22 14 25 36 49 67 78 87 94 99 99 Blue Temperature (oC) Trial 1 15 23 27 45 66 86 93 96 100 15 22 26 43 65 85 90 97 100 Trial 2 14 24 25 44 67 87 91 95 97 Trial 3 15 23 26 44 66 86 91 96 99 Average Trial 3 15 20 15 27 37 47 65 79 87 93 98 100 Average

Heading with units

Data is same resolution

0 60 90

Has been repeated

Units are not in the body of table

120 150 180 210 240 270 300 330 360 Colour of ame Time (seconds) 0 60 90 120 150 180 210 240 270

Processed data included

Note: data in red/underlined indicate values possibly affected by large random errors. They were not included in the average calculation.

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Descriptive title

Clear and evenly marked scale.

Appropriate type of graph drawn - a line graph in this example. Smooth line of best t included. Clear and evenly marked scale.

Y axis labelled, including units

X axis labelled, including units

Key included when appropriate


From the graph, the results show (What happens to the dependent variable as the independent variable changes?) . . .

The time taken for 200 mL of water to heat up to 100 degrees over both a yellow and blue ame can be seen in Graph 1. The trend shows that it took longer for the yellow ame to heat the water to boiling point compared to the blue ame. For example, although both samples of water were at approximately 15 degrees at time zero, the water over the blue ame took 270 seconds to reach approximately 100 degrees, where as the yellow ame took 360 seconds. This is a difference of 90 seconds or 1 minute and 30 seconds. The rate at which the water heated was not constant over time. Between 0 and 90 seconds, it can be seen that the water over both ames heated quite slowly, with negligible increases for the yellow ame and 11 degrees for the blue ame. The temperature of the water over the blue ame increases very rapidly from 26 to 86 degrees between 90 to 180 seconds. The temperature of the water over the yellow ame does not increase quite as rapidly, increasing from 15 to 87 degrees between 90 - 270 seconds. The rate of increase slows in both as the water approaches boiling point.

Updated Feb 22, 2013 - FINAL

This happens because (Consider the concepts you used in your hypothesis) .. . .

The Bunsen burner is a common piece of equipment used in laboratories to heat substances up. The major parts, as can be seen in Diagram 2 below, include the barrel, collar (which controls if the air hole is open or shut), gas nozzle for rubber tube and base.

Diagram 2: components of a Bunsen burner.

(Using the Bunsen burner, n.d.)

The Bunsen burner connects to a gas source via a rubber tube. The gas ows from the tap, into the Bunsen burner and up into the barrel. The heating ame is found at the top of the barrel. Bunsen burners have an air hole at the bottom of a barrel which can be open or closed, impacting on the amount of air available to be mixed in with the incoming gas from the gas tap. A closed air hole causes a yellow ame and an open air hole causes a blue ame. In order to produce a ame, a Bunsen burner needs a fuel. In this case, the fuel is a natural gas called CH4 or methane. The actual ame is a chemical reaction called combustion. Combustion usually involves oxygen and generates heat and light in the form of a ame. Flames can exist at either low or high temperatures (Kendratiev, n.d.). Complete combustion means that all of the methane undergoes the chemical reaction. The word equation for the reaction would be: methane + oxygen --> carbon dioxide + water.
When the air hole of a Bunsen burner is open and air can be drawn into the barrel, there will be complete combustion. Having the air hole open and allowing air to ow in through it will mean that all of methane will be combusted. As a result, the ame will be hotter and blue in colour. Incomplete combustion, on the other hand, occurs when only some of the methane is used in the reaction. The word equation for the reaction would be: methane + oxygen --> carbon monoxide + carbon + water.

Incomplete combustion occurs when the air hole of the Bunsen burner is shut and the only source of air is at the mouth of the barrel. As a result, a cooler yellow ame is produced.

Updated Feb 22, 2013 - FINAL

The ame is cooler because only some of the methane reacted to give off heat. As such, a yellow ame has less energy to transfer to a substance than a blue ame (BBC: GCSE Bitesize, n.d.). This was demonstrated in this experiment. The blue ame must have been hotter and better able to transfer energy to the water, enabling it to heat it up to boiling point faster compared to the yellow ame. This process can be seen in Diagram 3 below.

Diagram 3: components of a Bunsen burner.

(Energy transfer and storage -Thermal energy transfer, n.d.)

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Table 2: Validity of the method (Was the investigation a Fair Test?) If you were not able to control any of the control variables you listed above, how did any change in that variable affect your data?

Control variable Degree of impact (small, me- Improvement (how to x the that was not condium or large): problem) trolled:
1 Beginning temperature of the water was not always the same. As the differences in the beginning In order to x this problem, temperatures were relatively beakers of water can be small, the degree of impact would placed in a water bath set at be small. the correct temperature. Once the correct temperature is reached in each beaker, then they can be immediately transferred to the apparatus. The amount of extra time over heat was only approximately 5 seconds, so the degree of impact was small but may still make a difference. Use two stopwatches instead of one. By using two different stop watches, the Bunsen burners can be started at different times without it impacting on the results.

2 Lighting the Bunsen burner at slightly different times.

3 The amount the air hole was open may have been different in the tests with the blue ame.

The degree of impact may be moderate.

Instead of turning off and r lighting the Bunsen burner for each test, light it and keep it burning for the whole test with the air collar in the same position.

Updated Feb 22, 2013 - FINAL

Table 3: Reliability of the method: Were there enough trials? points? Reliability of data. The measuring instruments. Yes - the instruments did collect data that could be trusted. a) Did the measuring instruments collect data that can be trusted? Yes/ No A thermometer was used to measure temperature. At the start of the test the thermometer was checked and seemed to be functioning normally. The thermometer is an acceptable piece of scientic equipment to measure temperature in whole units. A stopwatch was used to measure the time taken for the water to boil. The stopwatch was very precise, measuring time to hundredths of a second. A 250 mL beaker was used to measure 200 mL of water. This is an appropriate instrument to use to precisely measure this volume of water. Did multiple trials give similar data? Are there anomalous

Explanation (why / why not?)

b) Was the experiment repeated enough times? Yes/ No

Yes as the experiment was repeated three times. This is enough times to identify if the data are precise and identify any potential outliers. It is also enough repetitions to calculate an average.

c) Did the measuring instrument collect precise data? (i.e. Did the multiple trials give similar data?) Yes/ No

Yes nearly all data collected was moderately precise. There was one example where the data was not - in the measurement at 240 seconds over the yellow ame, the temperature of the rst trial was 80 degrees, followed by 60 in trial two and 78 in trial three. This shows a small amount of scatter and less precision in this particular part of the test.

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Reliability of data. Size of sample. d) as the range large enough? Why/ Why not?

Explanation (why / why not?)

Yes as the only colours of ames that can be tested are yellow and blue. Yes/ No In other tests, where the independent variable can be further manipulated then this would make a more meaningful experiment. For example, if this experiment was testing the effect of amount of water on the time taken for it to boil, then the range might be this: 10, 40, 80, 120, 160 and 200 mL. Conducting the tests on this broad range would show a clear trend on a graph.

Were there any surprising results? What were they?

Yes. Over the yellow ame, the average temperature after 60 seconds is 20 degrees and after 90 seconds is 15 degrees. Logistically, it does not make sense for the water to lose heat while over the ame. This surprising results may be caused by experimental error. As can be seen in Graph 1, the lower average is a slight outlier and has a slight impact on the line of best t. Overall, the results supported the hypothesis.
Reference List

Nardelli, D., Safn, P., & Taylor, P. (2004). Science Alive 2. Milton: John Wiley & Sons. BBC: GCSE Bitesize. (n.d). Retrieved from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/science/ocr_gateway_pre_2011/carbon_chem/7 using_carbon_fuels1.shtml Kendratiev, V. (n.d). Retrieved from: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/127367/combustion/285212/Premixed-ames Using the Bunsen burner. (n.d). Retrieved from: http://www.grifn-education.co.uk/resources/pdfs/Booklet12BunsenBurner.pdf Energy transfer and storage -Thermal energy transfer. (n.d). Retrieved from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/ks3bitesize/science/energy_electricity_forces/energy_transfer_sto rage/revise5.shtml