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Experiment 10: Specific Heat of Substances

Anton Luis R. Villamejor, Andre Benedict G. Villamil, Kyra Jane N. Wahab, Hanika A. Yabut,
Giana Daphne S.J. Yu
Group 8, 3B-BC, Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Santo Tomas
The specific heat is the amount of heat per unit mass needed to raise the temperature by one
degree Celsius. A coffee cup calorimeter is simply a styrofoam cup to provide insulation when
materials are mixed inside of it. The objectives of this experiment were to prepare a calorimeter
and measure its heat capacity, to determine the specific heats of different metals, and explain
heat capacity as an intensive thermodynamic property of matter. The heat capacity of the
calorimeter computed in this experiment was 30.6 J/C and the specific heat of the metal was
0.639 J/gC with a 30.54% error.

Iron 0.11 0.46
Specific heat of a substance is the
Copper 0.093 0.39
amount of heat needed to change the
Aluminum 0.22 0.92
temperature of a unit mass of a substance
by 1. Lead 0.031 0.13
c = H/mT Zinc 0.0928 0.0922
where: c - specific heat
H - heat
m - mass The heat capacities of metals are
T - change in temperature very different from that of water. It takes
The SI unit of specific heat is less energy for the temperature to change in

joule/kg C. A traditional unit of specific heat a gram of metal by 1C than for a gram of
water. Computing the specific heat of
is cal/g C. The specific heat of water is
substances is applied in the process of
4186 J/kg C or 1 cal/g C (Silverio, 2013). calorimetry. A very simple calorimeter can

The specific heat capacities of some be used to examine the fundamentals of

calorimetry. The device is called coffee-cup
substances are given in Table 1.
calorimeter, where in two nested Styrofoam
Table 1. Specific Heat Values of Some cups with a cover through which a stirrer
and thermometer can be inserted. The outer
Substance Specific Heat cup is used to provide extra insulation. The
inner cup holds the solution in which the
cal/g C J/g C reaction occurs. When the reactants are
mixed in the calorimeter, the temperature of
Water 1.00 4.18
the mixed solution is observed to increase.
There is a release of heat in the chemical was then transferred to the calorimeter. The
reaction. This released heat increases the calorimeter with the hot and cold water was
random motions of the solution equilibriated for 3 minutes and the
components, which increases the temperature was recorded after the said
temperature (Zumdahl, 2012). The quantity time has passed. The mass of system was
of energy released can be determined from determined and recorded. After all the
the temperature increase, the mass of measurements of the needed variable was
solution, and the specific heat capacity of determined the heat capacity of the
the solution. It can be calculated by using calorimeter was computed using the
the formula: formula:

Energy released (as heat) = s x m x T qcal= qhot + qcold

where: s - specific heat capacity
m - mass of solution B. Specific Heat of Metals (Aluminum)
T - change in temperature
The mass of the aluminum sample
METHODOLOGY was determined and the aluminum was
A. Determination of the Heat Capacity of heated for 10 minutes. During the heating
the Calorimeter process of the metal sample an 80 mL of
distilled H2O was weighed and was
A bomb calorimeter was first made
transferred to the calorimeter, the
using two styrofoam cups and the weight of
temperature was recorded after a minute.
the calorimeter was measured after. A 25
After the 10 minute mark has passed the
mL water was weighed and the mass
hot metal was transferred to the calorimeter
recorded as mc(mass of cold water) and
and was equlibriated for 5 minutes. After the
was transferred to the bomb calorimeter and
said time has passed the temperature was
after a minute has passed the temperature
recorded as the final temperature of the
of the water was measured and recorded as
system. The specific heat for the metal was
Tc(Temperature of cold water). Then a 50
computed using a certain formula and the
mL water was heated for 5-10 minutes in a
value that was computed was compared to
beaker, after the said minutes has passed
the theoretical value of the metal for its
exactly 25 mL was immediately transferred
specific heat. The percent error was
to a graduated cylinder and it was weighed
computed lastly.
to get the mass of the hot water and the
temperature was also recorded as
TH(Temperature of hot water). The hot water

The table below shows the = 2214.43 + 1703.27

measured data and the results in the = 511.16

determination of the calorimeters heat
Table 2. Determination of the Heat Capacity = ( )

of Calorimeter 511.16 = (16.7)

Mass of cold water 24.4 g 511.16
Temperature of cold water 27.5C =
(Tc) 16.7
Mass of hot water 24.3 g
Temperature of hot water 66.0C = 30.6

Equilibrium Temperature (Tf) 44.2C In the experiment, a coffee cup or
Mass of mixture 48.8 g
Heat capacity of the 30.6 J/C Styrofoam cup was used as a calorimeter,
calorimeter due to Styrofoam being an excellent

To determine the heat capacity, the insulator or a material that does not easily

equations and computations used were: allow heat to pass through it. Therefore, the
structure insulated with Styrofoam will
= ( ) maintain a comfortable temperature inside,
= + regardless of outside conditions. It
simulated a closed system, wherein a
= ( )
region (the Styrofoam cup) is isolated from
= ( ) its surroundings by a boundary that admits
no transfer of matter or energy. In
Where: = 4.18
calorimetry, heat is prohibited from entering

= 24.3 4.18 (44.2 66.0) and exiting the system, therefore making

quantitative measurements possible. The
heat capacity of the calorimeter was
= 24.3 4.18 (21.8)

determined to be 30.6 J/C.
= 2214.43
The table below shows the

= 24.4 4.18 (44.2 27.5) experimental results in determining the

specific heat of Aluminum.

= 24.4 4.18 (16.7)

Table 3. Specific Heat of Aluminum 1592.57 = 41.75 (35.7
Mass of metal 41.75 g
Mass of water 79.27 g 1592.57 = 41.75
Initial temperature of water 31.3C (59.7)
Initial temperature of metal 95.4C 1592.57
(Tm) 41.75 59.7
Equilibrium temperature (Tf) 35.7C
Specific Heat of metal 0.639 0.639
(experimental) J/gC
Specific Heat of metal 0.920
(theoretical) J/gC The specific heat of aluminum was
% error 30.54% determined by this procedure. Specific heat
is how much heat energy is needed to raise
To determine the specific heat of the
the temperature of a substance. Aluminum
metal, the equations and computations used
has a specific heat of 0.920 J/gC. The
experimental specific heat computed was
= ( )
0.639 J/gC, thus having a percent error of
= +
30.54%. The heat lost by the metal is equal
= ( ) to the heat gained by the water; this is

= ( ) because the calorimeter prevents heat from

going out of the system. Specific heat is

= 30.6 (35.7 31.3) also an intensive property, meaning it does

not depend on the amount of a substance

= 30.6 (4.4) present, or the amount of a substance does

not change the specific heat. This allows
= 134.64
substances to be identified by means of
using their specific heat.
= 79.27 4.18 (35.7


= 79.27 4.18 (4.4) Specific heat of substances is one

way to determine the identity of a material
= 1457.93 due to it being an intrinsic property.
= 134.64 + 1457.93
It is possible that the calorimeter
= 1592.57 used was not sealed properly which
produced some error in the resulted specific
heat of the metal.


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Physical Chemistry. Guangdong,
Hongkong: C&C Offset Printing Co.Ltd.

[2]Silverio, A.A. (2013). Physics. Quezon,

Avenue, Quezon City: Phoenix Publishing
House, Inc.

[3]Zumdahl, S.S., Zumdahl, S.A. (2012).

Chemistry: An Atoms First Approach.
Belmont, USA: Brooks/Cole, Cengage