Demos: 3E-07 Calorimeter

In this demonstration you use a calorimeter to measure the specific heat of aluminum. The temperature probe is read into the computer so students can watch the temperature of the aluminum come into equilibrium with the water.

Directions: Boil 350 ml of water in a metal beaker. If some boiled away, add more to bring it up to 350 ml. Start the computer plot of the temperature on the overhead projector. Pour the water into the calorimeter and place the temperature probe in the water through a stoppered hole in the lid. Watch the water come into equilibrium with the probe and the Styrofoam container, then add the aluminum ring, which is at room temperature, about 25 C. The temperature will decrease from evaporation on the probe, then increase again after it is placed back into the water. Then the temperature will decrease again as the aluminum comes into equilibrium with the water. At this point the temperature will (almost) level off (the slow decrease is due to heat leaking through the Styrofoam and lid). Calculate the specific heat of aluminum as follows:

For mw=350 g, mAl=150g you should get a water temperature change of about 94C to 88C which results in a specific heat for aluminum of close to the known value of 0.2 cal/gC.

Suggestions for Presentation: Before the demo, ask students how they might measure the specific heat of aluminum.

Applications: Measure specific heat of various materials.

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Last Updated: May 9, 2016 11:44 AM