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Specific Heat of Various Metals

Lee Flores, John Mark Garcia, Richard Ivan Garcia, Novelyn Glino, Ryan Christian Jacinto , Jose
Angelson Lazo, Ronel Liao and Anna Dominique Manlagit
Group no.3
Physics Department, Adamson University, Ermita, Manila

The experiment focuses on how to determine the specific heat of the three metals and also to
verify the relationship between the specific heat of these metals provided and the change in
temperature. The specific heat was found to be the amount of heat per unit mass required to raise the
temperature by one degree Celsius. In this experiment, the metal samples were heated in boiled water
and recorded the temperature of the water after the equilibrium was achieved; then it was added and
stirred to a calorimeter with cold water, the highest temperature was recorded at equilibrium
temperature. The experiment proved that different materials have different specific heat and the
change in temperature is directly proportional to the magnitude of heat.

1. Introduction

Heat and temperature are somehow
alike but in physics they are distinct to each
other. Heat is caused by a temperature change
that leads to energy transfer while temperature
is the measure of how hot or cold an object is.
The specific heat C is the measurable quantity
of heat energy to change the temperature of a
specific object or material. The thermal
equilibrium can be achieved when the materials
permit to interact and able to reach a point
where in its temperature is no longer changing
or it is in the steady state. The purpose of this
experiment is to determine the specific heat of
metals experimentally and compare the results
to its true value. Also, it aims to verify the
relationship of the change in temperature to
the specific heat of the materials. Lastly, to find
out the factors needed to change the
temperature of substances.

2. Theory

Q is the quantity of heat required to
change the temperature of an object given a
mass m and it is proportional to the change in
temperature. The Q or the quantity of heat also
depends on the composition of the material
because different material has its own specific
heat, thus specific heat C of a material is the
amount of heat needed to raise the
temperature of one gram of the material by one
degree Celsius. These relations can best
described by this equation.

Where Q is the quantity of heat
absorbed of released by the object in Joules; m
is the mass of the substance in kilogram; C is
the specific heat of the material the object is
composed of in Joules per kilogram Celsius
degree; and T is the change in temperature
expressed in Celsius degree.
Objects that interact with different
temperature can come into thermal equilibrium
by either losing or gaining heat until there is no
more change in the interacting objects

3. Methodology

In this experiment, the following
materials were used; calorimeter, aluminum,
brass, and copper metal, thread, thermometer,
triple beam balance, beaker, electric thermos as
the heating instrument, and cold water. The
group weighed the cold water and the metals
first and the thread was tied to the metals so
the group can easily transfer them after soaking
the metals inside the beaker with hot water
from the electric thermos. After the equilibrium
temperature was reached by the metal and the
hot water, the temperature was recorded using
the thermometer then it was transferred inside
the calorimeter with the cold water. The highest
temperature attained by the water as it reached
the equilibrium was recorded using again the
thermometer. Then the specific heat of the
metal was calculated.

4. Results and Discussion

The measured data for mass and
temperature for the specific heat of the samples
were recorded in the table along with the
results of the computations.

Table1 shows the masses of different metals,
initial and final temperatures, and specific heat
capacity for experimental and true values
Table1. Specific Heat of Metals
Trial 1
Trial 2
Trial 3
, kg 0.018 0.058 0.052
cold water
, kg 0.041 0.043 0.047
10.5 13.4 8.00
79.5 81.6 78.7
C 15.6 19.9 14.6
J/kg C

761 327 389
true value
910 390 480
%error 16.4 16.3 18.9

As shown in table 1, the metal samples
in the experiment had different masses with
different computed heat capacities. Trial 1 and
2 showed that as the mass increases, the heat
capacity of the metals decreases, but it was
another case for trial 3 but it could be
attributed to higher percentage error. This
could mean that the specific heat capacity of a
metal was inversely proportional to its mass.
Based from the results it was evident that the
change in temperature for trial 1 has the
highest magnitude compared to trial 2 and 3,
this could mean that the change in temperature
is proportional to the magnitude of heat.
The errors that the group committed
could be attributed to the absence of an
isolated system to do the experiment since the
surroundings keeps on absorbing heat from the
system thus making our change in temperatures
to be not accurate.

5. Conclusion

In the experiment the group learned
that different materials like aluminum, brass
and copper have different specific heat. The
group computed for the experimental value for
their respective specific heat and compared
them with the true value where the group
acquired an acceptable percentage error. Based
from the data acquired the group observed that
specific heat and change in temperature are
inversely proportional to each other. Lastly the
group determined that mass and specific heat
are the factors that are needed to change the
temperature of an object, and each material
has its own specific heat.


1. Physics Committee, College Physics 2
Laboratory Manual, 2011, Adamson University,