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Experiment to measure the Specific Heat Capacity of Water

1. Preparation: a) Learn the definition of specific heat capacity.
b) Revise electrical power and energy.
c) Write a list of all the results you will need to take during the experiment. It is a good idea to try to write the list in the order that you will take the results.
d) Derive an equation from which the specific heat capacity of water can be calculated.
e) See part 3 below.

The diagram below shows an insulated "calorimeter" suitable for use in experiments of this type. A calorimeter is simply an aluminium container for the water, with an aluminium stirrer.

Measure the quantity of heat needed to produce a measured temperature change in a known mass of water. Use the ammeter and voltmeter (together with a stop-watch) to find the quantity of electrical energy put into the heater.

a) An electric heater is 100% efficient. This means that the quantity of heat energy given out is equal to the electrical energy put in.
b) As you heat the water you are, of course, also heating the aluminium. Al is a very good conductor so we can assume that at all times during the experiment, the Al has the same temperature as the water.
c) Specific heat capacity of aluminium = 908 Jkg-1C-1
Do the experiment as many times as you can in the time available using different masses of water.
3. The temperature changes involved should not be less than (about) 10C but not more than (about) 30C. Why are there these limitations?





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