Experimental Determination of Ice Latent Heat: Analysis, Error Assessment, and Insights

Categories: Physics

The Latent Heat of Fusion of ice represents the energy required for the phase transition of ice from a solid to a liquid state or vice versa. The commonly acknowledged value for the latent heat of fusion of ice is 333 Joules per gram. This experiment seeks to determine the latent heat of fusion of ice using the method outlined below.


  1. Ice Cubes
  2. 100 cm3 of water
  3. Calorimeter
  4. Digital Thermometer
  5. Measuring Cylinder (marked up to 100 cm3)
  6. Digital Balance


  1. Weigh an ice cube in a beaker to establish its mass.

  2. Measure 50 cm3 of water using a measuring cylinder.
  3. Record the initial temperatures of the ice and water separately using a digital thermometer.
  4. Combine the ice and water in the calorimeter's copper beaker.
  5. Allow sufficient time for the system to reach equilibrium, noting the final stable temperature.
  6. Record the final temperature.


  1. Independent Variable: Mass of the ice cube.
  2. Dependent Variables: Latent Heat of Fusion of Ice and equilibrium temperature.
  3. Constants: Specific heat capacity of ice and water, mass and temperature of water, apparatus used, surrounding temperature, and other environmental conditions, as well as the mass of the copper calorimeter.

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Safety Measures:

  1. Exercise caution when using the digital balance.
  2. Ensure that the digital thermometer display avoids direct contact with water or ice.

Fair Testing:

  1. Apply insulation to the calorimeter using a sponge or a similar insulating material.
  2. Guarantee that the digital thermometer sensor does not touch the walls or base of the beaker while measuring water temperature.
  3. Measure the mass of the ice cube in a beaker, avoiding direct placement on the balance.

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  4. Measure the mass of water separately, recognizing that 50 ml of water may not consistently equate to a mass of 50 g due to potential variations in tap water density.

Table showing the processed data

Mass (g)

Temperature (oC)

Temperature change (oC)




27.6 – 7.4 = 20.2




∆T1 = 5.4




∆T2 = 7.4

Table Showing the Calculations

By water

Energy Lost – Formula

Mass of water x Cw x ∆T

Energy Lost – with substituted values

50 x 4.2 x 20.2

Energy Lost

4242 Joules

Heat Lost = Heat Gained

By Ice

Energy Gained – Formula

(Mass of Ice x CI x ∆T1) +(Mass of Ice x Lf ) +(Mass of Ice x CI x ∆T2)

Energy Gained – with substituted values

(13.2 x 2.1 x 5.4) + (13.2 x Lf) + (13.2 x 2.1 x 7.4)

=149.668 + 205.128 + (13.2 x Lf)

Latent Heat of Fusion of Ice - with substituted values

Lf = 4242 – (149.668 + 205.128)


Latent Heat of Fusion of Ice

294.5 Joules/gram

Upon examining the calculations, the determined latent heat of fusion was 294.5 Joules per gram, while the established latent heat of ice mentioned in the introduction is 333 Joules per gram.

  • Error Percentage: 333 - 294.5 = 38.5 (38.5 / 333) x 100 = 11.6 Therefore, the error percentage was 11.6%. This implies that the results obtained from this experiment were 11.6% inaccurate or, conversely, 88.4% accurate (100 - 11.6 = 88.4).

Evaluation: Several potential errors could have contributed to the inaccuracies in the obtained experiment results:

  • The ice may have undergone slight melting upon removal from the freezer to the apparatus, absorbing energy from the atmosphere and introducing error in calculating the total heat gained by the ice.
  • Heat loss from the copper beaker in the calorimeter to the atmosphere may have occurred, impacting the accuracy of calculating the total heat lost by water.
  • The overall heat loss might not have equaled the total heat gained.
  • Possible apparatus errors, such as slight variations affecting the digital balance and digital thermometer due to minor environmental changes.
  • The measurement of water volume in the measuring cylinder might have incurred a parallax error.
  • Rounding off figures in calculations for simplification may have added to the inaccuracies in the final figures for the latent heat of fusion of ice.
  • Time constraints prevented the repetition of the experiment, precluding the calculation of an average that could have provided a more accurate result.
Updated: Feb 28, 2024
Cite this page

Experimental Determination of Ice Latent Heat: Analysis, Error Assessment, and Insights. (2024, Feb 28). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/document/experimental-determination-of-ice-latent-heat-analysis-error-assessment-and-insights

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