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Calorimetry is the process of measuring the amount of heat released or absorbed during a
chemical reaction. By knowing the change in heat, it can be determined whether or not a reaction is
exothermic (releases heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat). When a substance is heated, the motion of
its individual particles will increase, resulting in an increase temperature. The more heat that is added
per gram of substance, the greater is the temperature change. The relationship between the heat
added, the mass of a substance, and the temperature change is undergoes is known as specific heat. The
heat capacity of a defined system is the amount of heat (usually expressed in calories, kilocalories, or
joules) needed to raise the system’s temperature by 1°C per gram of substance.

In view of the concept presented above, an experiment was conducted with the following
objective: to determine the specific heat of an unknown metal using the calorimetry. This will be done
using a calorimeter containing water. A calorimeter is an apparatus for measuring quantities of
absorbed or emitted heat or for determining specific heats.

II. Methodology

A. Materials and Apparatus

The materials and apparatus used in this experiment are as follows: iron bolt, 200-mm test tube,
400-mL beaker, iron stand, iron ring, iron clamp, thermometer, wire gauze, alcohol lamp, and a
calorimeter. Wherein the calorimeter consists of two nested Styrofoam cups fitted within a Styrofoam

B. Procedure

i. Prepare the metal

In preparing the metal, the mass of an iron bolt was determined using a top-loading balance.
The metal was then transferred to a dry, 200-mm test tube and was placed in a 400-mL beaker with
water well above the level of the metal sample in the test tube. The water was heated until it boiled and
the temperature was maintained for 10 minutes so the metal has reached its thermal equilibrium with
the boiling water.

ii. Prepare the water in the calorimeter.

While the water was being heated, the experimental setup of the calorimeter was being
assembled. The calorimeter consists of two nested Styrofoam cups fitted with a Styrofoam cover. The
Styrofoam cups were cleaned thoroughly with several rinses of distilled water. The combined mass of
the calorimeter (the two Styrofoam cups and Styrofoam cover) was measured and recorded. Using a
graduated cylinder, about 40-mL of water was added to the calorimeter and the mass of the calorimeter
plus water was measured and recorded. A thermometer was placed and secured using an iron clamp
and its bulb was positioned below the water surface.

iii. Measure and record the temperature of the metal and water.

Once thermal equilibrium has been reached after approximately 10 minutes, the temperatures
of the boiling water and the water in the calorimeter was measured and recorded using all certain digits
and uncertain digits.

iv. Transfer the hot metal to the cool water and record the data.

The test tube was removed from the boiling water and quickly transferred only the metal to the
water in the calorimeter. In this part of the procedure, be careful not to splash out any of the water in
the calorimeter because if even just a small amount of water splashed out, the entire procedure should
be repeated. After the metal was transferred, the lid was replaced and the contents were swirled gently.
Then, the water temperature was recorded as a function of time (about 5-second intervals for 1 minute
and then 30-45 second interval for 5 minutes) on the table in the data sheet.

v. Plot the data

Plot the temperature (y-axis) versus time (x-axis) on a sheet of linear graph paper. The maximum
temperature is the intersection point of two lines:

a. The best line drawn through the data points on the cooling portion of the curve.
b. A line has drawn perpendicular to the time axis at the mixing time (when the metal was
added to the water).

vi. Parts (i) through (v) was repeated for the same dry metal sample.

III. Results
Treatment of Results Trial 1 Trial 2
Mass of metal (g) 24.50 g 24.50 g
Temperature of metal (boiling water)(⁰C) 91 ⁰C 92.9 ⁰C
Mass of calorimeter (g) 336.30 g 336.30 g
Mass of calorimeter + water (g) 415.02 g 415.02 g
Mass of water (g) 78.72 g 78.72 g
Temperature of water in calorimeter (⁰C) 28⁰C 29.1 ⁰C
Maximum temp. of metal & water from graph (⁰C) 29.5 ⁰C 31 ⁰C
Calculations for specific heat of a metal Trial 1 Trial 2
Temperature change of water, ΔT (⁰C) 1.5 ⁰C 1.9 ⁰C
Heat gained by water (J) 493.57 J 625.19 J
Temperature change of metal, ΔT (⁰C) -61.5 ⁰C -61.9 ⁰C
Specific heat of metal (J/⁰C) 0.3275 J/⁰C 0.4122 J/⁰C
Average specific heat of metal (J/⁰C) 0.36985 J/⁰C
Raw data for the determination of the specific heat of metal

T R I A L 1 T R I A L 2
Time Temperature Time Temperature
(5-sec interval for 1 min) (5-sec interval for 1 min)
5 seconds 29⁰C 5 seconds 30⁰C
10 seconds 29⁰C 10 seconds 30.5⁰C
15 seconds 29⁰C 15 seconds 31⁰C
20 seconds 29⁰C 20 seconds 31⁰C
25 seconds 29⁰C 25 seconds 31⁰C
30 seconds 29⁰C 30 seconds 31⁰C
35 seconds 29⁰C 35 seconds 31⁰C
40 seconds 29⁰C 40 seconds 31⁰C
45 seconds 29⁰C 45 seconds 31⁰C
50 seconds 29⁰C 50 seconds 31⁰C
55 seconds 29.3⁰C 55 seconds 31⁰C
60 seconds 29.5⁰C 60 seconds 31⁰C
Time Temperature Time Temperature
(30-sec interval for 5 mins) (30-sec interval for 5 mins)
30 seconds 29⁰C 30 seconds 31⁰C
1 minute 29.5⁰C 1 minute 31⁰C
1 min 30 sec 29.5⁰C 1 min 30 sec 31⁰C
2 minutes 29.5⁰C 2 minutes 31⁰C
2 mins 30 sec 29.1⁰C 2 mins 30 sec 31⁰C
3 minutes 29.1⁰C 3 minutes 31⁰C
3 mins 30 sec 29.1⁰C 3 mins 30 sec 31⁰C
4 minutes 29.1⁰C 4 minutes 31⁰C
4 mins 30 sec 29.1⁰C 4 mins 30 sec 31⁰C
5 minutes 29.1⁰C 5 minutes 31⁰C
Chart Title
Axis Title

0.50 Trial 2
0.30 Trial 1
0 sec 10 sec 20 sec 30 sec 40 sec 50 sec 60 sec / 2 min 3 min 4 min 5 min

IV. Discussion

In this experiment, a calorimeter is insulated so as to minimize any loss of energy to the

surroundings. Therefore, when a heated piece of metal is placed into the calorimeter, all of the energy
should be accounted for. Energy released by metal is equal to the energy gained by water. In other
words, the energy released from the metal should be gained by the water, with now loss to the
surroundings. This is based on the Law of Conservation of Energy, which states that energy is neither
created nor destroyed. A natural transfer of heat or heat flow from a region of higher to a region of
lower temperature until an equilibrium temperature is reached.

Each different type of metal causes the temperature of the water to increase to a different final