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Calorimetry Energy Powering Our Cells

Sydney Borkowski
MacKenzie Kerwin, Kaitlyn Remond
4 November 2015
Biology II H Period 7
TITLE: Determining How the Nutritional Value of Each Chip Affects the Heat Produced using
the Process of Calorimetry
OBJECTIVE: determining how the nutritional contents of a chip affect the amount of energy
contained within a chip
VARIABLES: The independent variable is the type of chip being tested. The dependent variable
is the temperature of the water as it is being heated by the burning chip. The constants are the
container the water is in, the height of the heat source from the calorimeter and the thermometer
used. The controls are the known nutritional information of each group.
INTRODUCTION: Homeostasis is a term that is used to both describe the survival of
organisms in an ecosystem and to describe the successful survival of cells inside of an organism
(Biology4kids.com). Cells maintain homeostasis with the help of their plasma membrane, which
separates the cell from its surroundings. This membrane has selective permeability, meaning that
only certain substances are easily let in and out of the cell. Materials are efficiently moved across
the membrane through diffusion. Diffusion is the tendency for molecules to spread out based on
their concentration gradient. ATP is a nucleoside triphosphate that is used to transport chemical
energy within cells and move things in and out of the cell membrane. Cellular respiration is when

the cell turns energy from nutrients into ATP and then releases waste products. The ATP can then
be used in the previously mentioned ways throughout the cell.
Energy is stored in the lipids and carbohydrates within your body. Both of these
macromolecules contain hydrogen-carbon bonds, which store a large amount of energy. When
these bonds are broken, the energy within them is freed and can be utilized. Lipids contain more
bonds than carbohydrates, therefore they contain more energy. Saturated fats and unsaturated fats
are two separate categories of lipids. Saturated fats contain the maximum possible amount of
hydrogens (Lipids: Fats, Oils, Wax etc.). In other words, they are saturated with hydrogens.
Some of the carbons in unsaturated fats share double bonds, theyre not bonded to as many
hydrogens as they could if they werent double bonded to each other (Lipids: Fats, Oils, Wax
etc.). Saturated fats contain more energy than the same amount of an unsaturated fat because they
contain more bonds and are able to pack closer together, making them solid at room temperature.
In contrast, unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature and contain less energy.
A calorie is a unit of energy. A small calorie is the energy it takes to raise the temperature
of 1 gram of water through 1oC. A large calorie is the energy it takes to raise 1 kilogram of water
through 1o C. Large calories are the unit often used to measure the energy in food. Calorimeters
are devices used to measure the amount of heat, or energy, produced by something. All
calorimetric techniques are therefore based on the measurement of heat that may be generated
(exothermic process), consumed (endothermic process) or simply dissipated by a sample
(Calorimetry: Measureing Heats of Reactions). Calorimeters can be used to find the energy
contained in food items and to calculate the calories in the food.


aluminum can
ring stand
various types of chips (Cheetos, ruffles, reduced fat)
device to hold food sample steady (ex. Paperclip)

1. Obtain a soda can and fill with 250 ml of cold tap water, so boiling of water is prevented
2. Carefully place metal rod through the existing holes in either side of the can and place on
to the ring stand as demonstrated by the model. Place a thermometer into the can using a
clamp to suspend below the water line, then take the initial temperature.
3. Take the initial mass of the chip by placing it on to a weigh boat. Place the chip on to the
chip holder and underneath the aluminum can.
4. After setting up the calorimeter properly get the instructor to initially light the chip.
5. After the chip is finished burning, record the final temperature for the water in the can.
Once the chip is completely extinguished, mass whats left of the chip. This will be
subtracted from the initial mass before proceeding with your calculations.
6. Using hot mitts, dump the water out of the soda can and refill with cold tap water. Repeat
the previous steps with the remaining samples.

Type of chip
Reduced fat

Initial mass (g)

of chip
1.96 g
2.22 g

Final mass (g) of

0.26 g
0.53 g
1.89 g

Initial Temp oC
of water

Final Temp oC of

Type of chip
Reduced fat

Change in mass (g) of


% change in mass (g)

Change in temp oC




250 1 5.3 = 1,325
1,325 1,000 = 1.325
1.325 1.7 = 0.78 calories per gram

250 1 3.4 = 850
850 1,000 = 0.82
0.85 1.69 = 0.50 calories per gram

Reduced Fat:
250 1 2 = 500
500 1,000 = 0.5
0.5 0.37 = 1.35 calories per gram

Claim: The higher the nutritional contents of the chip, the more energy it contains.
Evidence : The reduced fat chip only lost 16.4% of its mass as opposed to the cheeto, which lost
86.7%, and the ruffle, which lost 76.1% of the data. Also, the reduced fat only rasied the

temperature of the water by 2oC, as opposed to the cheeto, which heated the water 5.3oC, and the
ruffle, which heated the water by 3.4oC.
Reasoning: Fat and carbohydrates are the macromolecules that hold energy. Fat holds more
energy than carbohydrates due to the fact that it contains more bonds. When the chips are
burned, the energy they release is being measured by the calorimeter through the heat they
release. Because the Cheetos and the ruffles contain the most amount of fat based off of their
known nutrition facts, they produced the most heat. The reduced fat chip had a significantly
smaller amount of fat, therefore it burned much less than the other two chips.
REFLECTION: One of the errors that occurred while collecting the data is that the water was
not measured each time. Also, the calculated calories did not match the known nutritional
information. This may be a result of the water not being weighed. The change in temperature and
in mass did accurately show that the cheeto and ruffle had more energy than the reduced fat, but
the calculations showed the opposite.

Regulation - It's All About Homeostasis. (n.d.). Retrieved November 11, 2015, from

Lipids: Fats, Oils, Wax etc. (n.d.). Retrieved November 11, 2015, from
Calorimetry- Measuring Heats of Reactions. (n.d.). Retrieved November 11, 2015, from