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Lab 2

Specific and Latent Heats

(PHYS 1065)

c
2016
Patricia Robbert, Garret Wassermann, and Elaina Rodriguez Constock; all rights reserved

Objectives:
Identify an unknown sample of metal by determining its specific heat capacity.
Measure the latent heat of fusion of water.
Gain an understanding of heat capacity, latent heat, transfer of heat, and conservation of heat energy.
Equipment:
Electric burner and 2-quart pan, 1 for the class
Cool tap water, crushed ice, paper towels or cloth rags
Tongs, ladle or Pyrex measuring cup, and pot holder
Dropper bottle of glycerin (glycerine, glycerol), 1 for the class
Calorimeter and thermometer (10 C to 120 C)
Metal cylinder of unknown composition, beam or digital balance
Safety:
Use caution around the electric burner and pan of boiling water.
Use caution when inserting the glass thermometer into the rubber stopper. Use a drop of glycerin
inside the stopper if you have trouble pushing the thermometer in; this will reduce the risk of breaking
the glass thermometer.

2.1

Theory for Specific Heat Capacity

The heat capacity of a material refers to the total amount of thermal energy that must be added or removed to
change the temperature of the material by a certain amount. The specific heat capacity is a quantification of
this property per unit mass. Hence, if Q represents the amount of thermal energy that is transferred (the heat
flow), c is the specific heat capacity, m the mass of the material, and T the temperature change, we can write
Q = cmT.

(2.1)

When two materials of different temperatures are placed in thermal contact, thermal energy is transferred
by one or more of the three processes of conduction, convection, or radiation. The warmer object loses thermal
energy and the cooler object gains energy. Theoretically, we can account for all of the energy transfers, and
if the materials are isolated or thermally insulated from the external environment, it becomes practical to do

LAB 2. SPECIFIC AND LATENT HEATS (PHYS 1065)

this accounting. The heat lost by the warmer material (a negative quantity) and the heat gained by the cooler
material (a positive quantity) should total zero.
Q1 + Q2 = 0.

(2.2)

In this experiment, a metal cylinder with a temperature of 100 C is placed in thermal contact with cool
water, in a cool aluminum inner cup, with a cool stainless steel stirrer s. These four materials are thermally
isolated from the external environment by a layer of stationary air that is trapped between the inner cup and the
jacket of a calorimeter. The composition of the metal cylinder is assumed to be unknown and can be identified
by experimentally determining its specific heat capacity, cx . The accounting of the heat losses and gains takes
the form
Qx + QH2 O + QAl + Qs = 0.

(2.3)

In Eq. 2.3, heat Qx flows out of the hot metal cylinder, heat QH2 O flows into the cool water, heat QAl flows into
the cool aluminum cup, and heat Qs flows into the cool stainless steel stirrer. The algebraic sum of these heat
flows is zero.

2.2

Theory for Latent Heat of Fusion

The latent heat of fusion of a material refers to the amount of thermal energy that must be added to change
the state of a unit mass of material from solid to liquid. Similarly, the same amount of thermal energy can be
removed from the material to change its state in the other direction, from liquid to solid. If Q represents the
amount of heat flow, Lf is the latent heat of fusion, and m is the mass of the material, we can write
Q = m Lf .

(2.4)

In this experiment, crushed ice is placed in thermal contact with hot water, in a hot aluminum inner cup, with
a hot stainless steel stirrer. Well refer to stainless steel stirrer simply as s. These four materials are thermally
isolated from the external environment by a layer of stationary air that is trapped between the inner cup and
the jacket of the calorimeter. Thermal energy will be transferred from the hot materials to the ice. As the ice
gains heat, it will respond by going through the following three stages.
1. The temperature of the ice will increase until it reaches 0 C. The heat equation for this stage is based on
Eq. 2.1 and is
Q1 = cmT

(2.5)

where c is the specific heat capacity of ice, with the value of 0.50 cal/(g C).
2. Additional thermal energy will supply the necessary latent heat of fusion and cause the ice to melt. The
heat equation for this stage is based on Eq. 2.4 and is
Q2 = m L f

(2.6)

where Lf is the latent heat of fusion for water. Lf is the unknown value to be determined in this experiment.
3. Finally, additional heat flow into the melted ice will increase its temperature from 0 C to some final
temperature. The heat equation for this stage is
Q3 = cmT

(2.7)

where c is the specific heat capacity of water, with the value of 1.00 cal/(g C).
Using Eq. 2.2 to account for the heat losses and gains, it takes the form
Q1 + Q2 + Q3 + QH2 O + QAl + Qs = 0

(2.8)

In Eq. 2.8, heat Q1 flows into the sub-zero temperature ice and raises its temperature to 0 C. Heat Q2 flows
into the zero-degree ice and melts it. Heat Q3 flows into the melted ice and raises the temperature of this water
to Tf . Where does all of this heat come from? Heat QH2 O flows out of the warm water. Heat QAl flows out of
the warm aluminum can. Heat Qs flows out of the warm stirrer. The algebraic sum of these heat flows is zero.

2.3. PROCEDURE AND DATA

2.3
2.3.1

Procedure and Data


Determine the specific heat capacity of an unknown.

1. Your instructor will fill the 2-quart pan one third full of water, place the pan on the electric burner, and
turn the temperature control to high. After the water comes to a boil, the temperature control may be
lowered such that water gently boils.

Figure 2.1: The parts of a calorimeter: at top right is the jacket and insulating ring; at bottom right is the inner
cup and stirrer; at left is the thermometer that has been inserted into a rubber stopper; and, at center is the
insulating lid. A drop of glycerin is used to insert the thermometer into the rubber stopper. Care must be used
so that the thermometer does not break and cause injury.
2. Remove the center rubber stopper from the insulating lid, and placing a drop of glycerin in the
hole of the stopper, carefully insert the thermometer into the stopper. Adjust the position of the rubber
stopper so that the bulb of the thermometer extends very close to the bottom of the inner cup when the
thermometer and stopper are inserted into the center hole of the insulating lid. The stirrer will protrude
from one of the small hole in the lid, and a cork will plug the other small hole.
3. Choose an unknown metal cylinder, describe its appearance, and determine its mass mx . Make a guess as
to its composition.
Appearance of unknown:
Guess as to the composition:

Quantity

Symbol

mass of unknown metal cylinder

mx

Data

4. Remove the inner aluminum cup from its insulating ring and determine its mass mAl . Mass the stirrer,
ms . Add cool tap water to the inner cup to a depth of a couple cm. The exact amount does not matter
very much, since you will measure the mass of however much water you end up using for your calculations.
Mass the inner cup now that it contains water mAl+H2O . Place the inner cup into the insulating ring
and into the jacket. Place the lid on the calorimeter. Allow the water, inner cup, and stirrer to reach an
equilibrium temperature. Record this temperature as TH2 O .

LAB 2. SPECIFIC AND LATENT HEATS (PHYS 1065)

Figure 2.2: The assembled calorimeter. The thermometer and rubber stopper are inserted into the large center
hole of the insulating lid. The stirrer protrudes from one small hole in the lid and a cork plugs the other small
hole.

Quantity

Symbol

mass of inner cup

mAl

mass of inner cup and water

mAl+H2 O

mass of water

mH2 O

mass of stirrer

ms

temperature of water

TH2 O

Data

5. Gently drop the metal cylinder into the pan of boiling water. Give it a minute or two to reach 100 C or
whatever the temperature of the hot water in the pan is. You will record this temperature as Tx . Have the
closed calorimeter next to the pan and very quickly use the tongs to lift the metal out of the boiling water,
shake any drops of water off of it, and insert it into the inner cup of the momentarily opened calorimeter.
Replace the calorimeter lid immediately.

Quantity

Symbol

temperature of metal cylinder

Tx

Data

6. Return to your lab table, stir the water and hot metal mixture and observe the temperature change. When
the temperature reaches an equilibrium temperature, record this final temperature as Tf .

2.3. PROCEDURE AND DATA

Quantity

Symbol

temperature at equilibrium

Tf

Data

7. Calculate the change in temperature experienced by the metal cylinder and by the water in the inner cup.
Since the aluminum inner cup and the stainless steel stirrer are in thermal equilibrium with the water, the
value obtained for TH2 O applies to them also.

Tx = Tf Tx

(2.9)

TH2 O = Tf TH2 O

(2.10)

Quantity

Symbol

change in temperature of metal cylinder

Tx

change in temperature of water

TH2 O

Data

8. Empty the calorimeter and leave open to dry.

2.3.2

Determine the latent heat of fusion of water.

1. The instructor will fill the two-quart pan one third full of water, place the pan on the electric burner,
turn the temperature control to high, and bring the water to a boil. After the water comes to a boil, the
temperature control may be lowered such that water gently boils.
2. Remove the center rubber stopper from the insulating lid, and placing a drop of glycerin in the
hole of the stopper, carefully insert the thermometer into the stopper. Adjust the position of the rubber
stopper so that the bulb of the thermometer extends very close to the bottom of the inner cup when the
thermometer and stopper are inserted into the center hole of the insulating lid. The stirrer will protrude
from one of the small hole in the lid, and a cork will plug the other small hole.
3. Be sure that the aluminum inner cup is completely dry and clean before continuing. Use some paper towels
to dry it if necessary.
4. Remove the aluminum inner cup from its insulating ring and determine its mass, mAl . Mass the stainless
steel stirrer, ms .

Quantity

Symbol

mass of inner cup

mAl

mass of stirrer

ms

Data

5. This experiment can be done with room-temperature water, but the precision of the results is improved
by using hot water. Boiling water is difficult to manage in an aluminum cup, so a good compromise is to
use warm water. Place some regular tap water in the inner cup of the calorimeter, then using a ladle or
a pyrex measuring cup, add hot water from the pan into the inner cup until it is about 1/3 to 1/2 full.
Mass the inner cup with the warm water in it. Calculate the mass of the warm water.

LAB 2. SPECIFIC AND LATENT HEATS (PHYS 1065)

Quantity

Symbol

mass of inner cup and water

mAl+H2 O

mass of water

mH2 O

Data

6. Place the inner cup into the insulating ring and both into the jacket. Place the lid on the calorimeter.
Allow the water, inner cup, and stirrer to reach an equilibrium temperature. Record this temperature as
TH2 O .

Quantity

Symbol

temperature of water

TH2 O

Data

7. Record the temperature of the crushed ice. Gently drop approximately 80 g of crushed ice into the
calorimeter and replace the lid immediately. Theres no need to exactly measure out this value, this is
only a suggestion; you may use however much you want since you will determine the exact mass of the
ice later. Return to your table, stir, and observe the temperature. When an equilibrium temperature is
reached, record this final temperature as Tf .

Quantity

Symbol

temperature of ice

Tice

temperature at equilibrium

Tf

Data

8. Calculate the change in temperature experienced by the water in the inner cup.

TH2 O = Tf TH2 O

Quantity

Symbol

change in temperature of water

TH2 O

(2.11)

Data

9. Calculate the change in temperature experienced by the ice before it melts. This step is only necessary if
your ice started at a lower temperature than 0 C; otherwise, the change is zero and may be ignored.
Tice = 0 Tice

Quantity

Symbol

change in temperature of ice

Tice

(2.12)

Data

10. Calculate the change in temperature experienced by the ice after it melts.
Tmelted ice = Tf 0

(2.13)

2.3. PROCEDURE AND DATA

Quantity

Symbol

change in temperature of melted ice

Tmelted ice

Data

11. Mass the inner cup which now contains the original water and the melted ice.

Quantity

Symbol

mass of inner cup, water, and melted ice

mtotal

Data

12. Calculate the mass of the ice.


mice = mtotal mAl+H2 O

Quantity

Symbol

mass of ice

mice

Data

13. Empty the calorimeter and leave it open to dry. Return the thermometer to its wall holder.

(2.14)

LAB 2. SPECIFIC AND LATENT HEATS (PHYS 1065)

2.4

Calculations

2.4.1

Calculate the specific heat capacity of the unknown metal.

Refer to the specific heat capacity values given in Table 2.1 for the water, aluminum can, and stainless steel
stirrer. Use these values along with your data and Eqs. 2.1 and 2.3, and solve for the specific heat capacity of
the unknown metal. Show your calculations and record cx .

Quantity

Symbol

specific heat capacity of the unknown metal

cx

Results

2.4. CALCULATIONS

2.4.2

Calculate the latent heat of fusion of ice.

Refer to the specific heat capacity values given in Table 2.1 for the water, aluminum can, and stainless steel
stirrer. Use these values along with your data and Eqs. 2.1, 2.4, and 2.8, and solve for the latent heat of fusion
for water. Show your calculations and record Lf .

Quantity

Symbol

latent heat of fusion of water

Lf

Results

10

LAB 2. SPECIFIC AND LATENT HEATS (PHYS 1065)

2.4.3

Table of Known Specific Heat Capacities

Table 2.1: Specific Heat Capacities

Material

Specific heat capacity c


at 20 C in cal/(g C)

2.5

Aluminum, Al

0.214

Brass, 72%Cu, 28%Zn

0.094

Bronze, 88%Cu, 12%Sn

0.104

Copper, Cu

0.0921

Gold, Au

0.0312

Iron, pure, Fe

0.107

Lead, Pb

0.0306

Silver, Ag

0.0558

Steel

0.113

Tin, Sn

0.0542

Zinc, Zn

0.0925

Water, H2 O

1.00

Ice, at 5 C

0.50

Analysis

1. Which specific heat capacity value from Table 2.1 is closest to your experimental result? What metal is
that?
2. Is this identification consistent with your visual inspection of your unknown metal cylinder?
3. If not, choose the metal that corresponds with your visual inspection, and record its name and specific
heat capacity from the table.
4. Calculate the percent error in your determination of the specific heat capacity by comparing your experimental value Xexp to the theoretical value Xth from the table. Report the error estimate to no more than
one or two significant digits.

2.6. QUESTIONS

11

% error =

|Xexp Xth |
100%.
Xth

(2.15)

% error in specific heat capacity measurement =


5. Calculate the percent error in your determination of the latent heat of fusion by comparing your experimental value Xexp to the theoretical value Xth , Lf = 79.5 cal/g. Report the error estimate to no more
than one or two significant digits.
% error in latent heat measurement=
6. There are a few readily identifiable sources of error in this experimental procedure. Identify at least two
sources and suggest a method to reduce each. Indicate whether you are discussing the specific heat capacity
procedure or the latent heat of fusion procedure, or both.
7. Explain why the precision of the latent heat experiment is improved by using hot water instead of roomtemperature water.

2.6

Questions

1. Consider a hot pizza fresh from the oven. Why do you tend to burn your tongue on a bite of the hot
cheese, but not on the crust?
2. Consider a pan of boiling water. The temperature of the water is 100 C and the temperature of the
escaping steam, immediately above the surface of the water, is also 100 C. Which will give you the more
severe burn, putting your finger in the boiling water, or into the escaping steam? Why?