# Heat Capacity of Water: Laboratory Report

Categories: Physics

## Introduction

This laboratory report documents the procedures and results of an experiment conducted to investigate the heat capacity of water.

## Research Question

How is the voltage related to the change in water temperature over a certain amount of time?

## Background Information

Prior to conducting the experiment, I reviewed Section 5.10 in the Physics Book about the heat capacity of water to gain a basic understanding of the topic. Additionally, I utilized information provided by our teacher to ensure accurate data collection and calculations for this laboratory investigation.

## Heat Capacity of Water

Heat capacity refers to a material's ability to absorb thermal energy, leading to an increase in its temperature. Some materials, such as aluminum, have a greater capacity for absorbing thermal energy.

## Key Points in this Lab Report:

• Energy is measured in joules (J)
• Temperature is measured in Celsius (°C)

## Prediction and Hypothesis

Prediction: It is predicted that as the water is heated over time, it will gain kinetic energy, resulting in an increase in temperature.

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Higher kinetic energy will correspond to a greater temperature rise.

Hypothesis: If the heating element remains immersed in the water for an extended duration, the temperature of the water will increase due to the transfer of kinetic energy into thermal energy. This phenomenon is consistent with the principles outlined in our Physics book.

## Variables

• Independent variable: Energy supplied
• Dependent variable: Temperature of the water (maintained at a constant volume of 850 mL)
• Controlled variables:
• Duration of the experiment (kept consistent)
• Intervals between tests (uniform)

## Equipment

• 1 Ammeter
• 1 Voltmeter
• 1 Beaker (for water and heating element)
• 1 Conical Flask (for measuring water)
• Water from Laboratory Sink (850 ml)
• 1 Power Pack (12V)
• 1 Timer
• 6 Short wires
• 1 Thermometer
• 1 Heating element
• Book for recording results

## Method

1. Prepare all equipment as listed above.

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2. Connect wires to the Power Pack, ammeter, voltmeter, and the heating element. Ensure proper connections before turning on the Power Pack.
3. Fill the conical flask with 850 mL of water from the room's sink, taking care to stop at the desired volume. Place the conical flask into the beaker, along with the heating element and a thermometer.
4. With all connections in place, start the timer only after turning on the Power Pack. Set the timer for the desired duration (e.g., 10 minutes) but record temperature data at regular intervals (e.g., every 2 minutes) during the experiment.
5. After the specified time has elapsed, stop the timer and turn off the Power Pack. Record and analyze the results. Repeat the experiment, maintaining all variables except for the water, to observe any changes in temperature.
6. Upon completing the experiment, unplug the Power Pack and disconnect all components. Organize and store the equipment.

## Safety Considerations

Do not turn on the Power Pack until all connections are verified to be correct. There is a risk of electric shock if the Power Pack is turned on with incorrect wiring.

## Preliminary Testing and Results

The preliminary testing was conducted with the participation of Sascha, Chloe, Gary, and Naila. We meticulously recorded data while maintaining precise timing and intervals, although minor equipment reading errors may have occurred.

### Preliminary Testing Results

In this section, we present the results of the preliminary tests, which were conducted to check the equipment for any factors that could affect the results. We initially ran a 10-minute test to identify and correct issues. For instance, we discovered that the Voltage regulator was set at 9 Volts instead of 12V, and promptly rectified this.

### Possible Sources of Error

• Intervals between tests
• Water volume
• Starting temperature
• Effect of surroundings
• Maximal temperature of heating element
• Thermal energy loss from the beaker to the air
• Measurement errors

### Results Table

The table below displays the calculated energy values and temperature changes observed during the tests.

Test Starting Temperature (°C) At 2 min (°C) At 4 min (°C) At 6 min (°C) At 8 min (°C) At 10 min (°C) Average Temperature (°C)
Test 1 18°C 18°C 20°C 21°C 20°C 20°C 19.8°C
Test 2 20°C 21°C 22°C 22°C 22.5°C 24°C 22.3°C
Test 3 19°C 19°C 19°C 20°C 19°C 21°C 19.6°C
Test 4 18°C 18°C 20°C 18°C 20°C 21°C 19.4°C
Test 5 21°C 21°C 21°C 23°C 23°C 25°C 22.6°C

### Suggestions for Improvement:

• Reduce measurement errors by using more precise equipment and verifying readings.
• Maintain consistent environmental conditions, such as room temperature, throughout the experiment.
• Conduct additional trials to increase data accuracy and reliability.

## Calculations for Heat Capacity of Water

For the calculations, the following formulas were utilized:

• Power = Voltage x Current
• Energy = Power x Time
• Energy transferred = Mass x Specific Heat Capacity x Temperature Change (Energy transferred = m * c * ΔT)
• Specific Heat Capacity (c) = J/kg°C
• Energy = Power x Time
• Power = Energy x Time
• Electrical Power = Voltage x Current x Time
• Energy = Mass x Temperature Change x Heat Capacity
• Energy Supplied = Mass x Current x Change in Time

### Table of Calculations

The following table summarizes the calculations and results used to determine the heat capacity of water:

Voltage (V) Ammeter (A) Time (s) Energy (J) Temperature (°C)
9 3.62 0 0 0
9 3.62 120 3909.6 1
9 3.62 240 7819.2 2
9 3.62 360 11728.8 3
9 3.62 480 15638.4 3.5
9 3.62 600 19548 4
9 3.62 720 23457.6 5
9 3.62 840 27367.2 5.5
9 3.62 960 31276.8 7
9 3.62 1080 35186.4 8
9 3.62 1200 39096 9.5

### Analysis and Error Analysis

The table above provides average data, which is essential for accurate results. To calculate the energy used in the experiments, we multiplied voltage, current, and time.

## Conclusion

The data presented in the table and graph indicate a small error in our results, likely attributed to several potential sources of error as mentioned earlier. While the experiment generally proceeded well, it is disappointing to observe a slight discrepancy in our data. In conclusion, the results could have been more precise if we had addressed the suggested improvements.

## Further Research Questions

• How can the experiment be made more accurate?
• What is the actual heat capacity of water?

## Evaluation

Considering our results, it is evident that there is an error of approximately 24.5%. However, it is important to acknowledge the numerous factors that may have influenced the experiment's outcome.

Updated: Jan 05, 2024