Energy Conversions I. Unit of measure (most common one) Form Definition Example

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1 Energy Conversions I Energy can take many forms, but any one form can usually be converted into another. And no matter what form we talk about, we can use conversion factors to calculate equivalent amounts of energy that could (theoretically) be derived from changing one form into another. For example, we show in this lesson that electrical energy can be converted into heat energy using an immersion coil. In a similar fashion we can convert heat, light, mechanical energy, chemical energy, electrical energy or nuclear energy from one form into another. Can you supply examples of energy conversions and units of measure that would complete the matrix below? Figure 1: Equipment for Energy Conversions I balance graduated cylinder (100 ml or 250 ml) immersion heater (with split cord) multimeter power supply ringstand stopwatch Styrofoam cup thermometer Form Definition Example Unit of measure (most common one) HEAT energy from a hot object unit on a gas kitchen range calorie or Btu LIGHT MECHANICAL CHEMICAL ELECTRICAL NUCLEAR One of the most important considerations in our search for energy is that it be easily converted from one form to another. As we have noted, the sun is a primary source of energy on our planet. Captured solar energy provides us with derived energy from green plants. After millions of years of decay, plant and animal matter convert into fossil fuels like coal and petroleum. These can be burned and converted into electricity a form of energy that our Energy Conversions I -- Page 1 of 6

2 society converts daily into many forms to serve our needs. For example, the electrical outlet in our kitchen can be tapped if we want to heat water for making hot chocolate. In this lesson we will look at the conversion of electrical energy to heat water. We do this every day, but rarely think about it. This is what happens on a large scale in electrical hot water heaters. Have you ever wondered how much energy is lost in using electricity to heat water? Let's explore this on a reduced scale by using a small immersion coil that heats rapidly when we plug it into an electrical outlet. If the coil is immersed in a cup of water, the heat is transferred to the water and the water temperature goes up. For each gram of water that is heated by one degree Celcius a single calorie is absorbed. {One thousand of these is known as a kilocalorie the food Calorie we encountered earlier.} We can measure the power of the immersion coil in watts, defined as the product of voltage and current. Then we can compare our results to the rating shown on the label for that electrical appliance. We will use this power input in calculating the efficiency of heating water this way. Electrical energy is measured in watt-hours or kilowatthours, which is what the power company charges us for in a monthly bill. Some basic energy definitions are found in Appendix A and energy conversion factors are found in Appendix B. But enough of this! Let's see what happens when we heat a cup of water using electricity. Objectives [At the end of this lesson students will be able to...] describe the steps needed to collect data on electrical voltage and current, and use these to calculate the power in watts that is the rate of energy consumption of a small electrical appliance. determine the number of calories absorbed by a given quantity of water heated through a measured temperature change. describe the steps needed to collect data and calculate the efficiency of heating water using a small immersion coil. compare the energy consumed by the coil with the known relationship between watthours and calories, and describe the efficiency of heating water this way. work problems requiring energy conversion from watt-hours to calories and vice-versa. Start-up questions 1. Suppose we want to heat a cup of water using a small electrical immersion coil. What does the power rating of the coil (in watts) tell us about the time required to heat the water? Predict the temperature change expected from 2.0 minutes of heating using the coil provided. 2. How much energy is required to heat 250. milliliters of water from 15 Celcius to 95 Celcius? Does this sound like a lot or a little to you? Energy Conversions I -- Page 2 of 6

3 3. Do you think this will prove to be an efficient way of heating water? In other words, does most of the electrical energy used by the immersion coil go directly into raising the water's temperature? How could we find out? Using Electricity to Heat Water Now we will heat water with the small immersion coil. We need to know how much water, since the quantity of heat needed depends on how much water we are heating. Also, we should know the beginning and ending temperature of the water, since each Celcius degree we raise the temperature of a gram of water requires another calorie of heat. And we will determine the wattage rating of the immersion coil so we can discuss the energy it provides. The energy input is the power applied (in watts) from the coil multiplied by the time it was applied (in hours). Watthours can be converted to calories, since 860. calories Figure 2: Immersion Heater Set-up equals one watt-hour. Efficiency is the ratio of energy output divided by energy input, converted to per cent. Let's see how efficient our little coil is in heating water... Heating water: data and calculations Value Unit(s) 1. Volume of water in cup ml 2. Mass of water that was heated g 3. Initial temperature of water C 4. Final temperature of water C 5. Wattage of immersion coil W 6. Time during which coil was energized s 7. Temperature change of water C 8. Energy input = watts time of heating (hours) watt hr 9. Energy input in calories (above 860. cal/watt hr.) cal 10. Energy output (mass sp. heat temp. change) cal 11. Efficiency = (energy output / energy input) 100% % Energy Conversions I -- Page 3 of 6

4 Clarifying points: The equation relating energy E, mass m, specific heat of a substance c, and change in temperature T, is: E = m c T All energy are convertible from one form to another and the second law of thermodynamics says that you cannot break even. You are going to lose useful energy when converting from one form of energy to another. The second law is frequently referred to as increase in entropy (or disorder or chaos). In general, efficiency is defined as: Efficiency = (Output/Input) 100% Efficiency of energy conversion in a heat engine where there is a heat source and a cold sink can be expressed as: Efficiency = (T high - T low )/T high < 1 or < 100% The best efficiency one can expect from most engines is about 30% (usually 10%). What are some of the consequences of the lack of efficiency? How can one develop higher efficiency systems? The conversion process is usually between electrical energy, thermal energy, or light energy (photo or electromagnetic) and mechanical work. These basic conversion concepts and measurement of their efficiency are demonstrated throughout these energy conversion lessons. Suppose we are interested in how much electricity is required to heat up a cup of water to compare this with the energy accounted for in calories when the water temperature rises. We've all heard that energy cannot be created or destroyed. So what if some energy gets "lost" in conversion from electrical energy to thermal energy (heat). Like, a lot of energy gets lost! We can examine the process of energy conversion by comparing the energy output in a process with the energy input to that process. The ratio (converted to percent) is called efficiency. Assessment questions 1. Do you recommend an immersion coil as a means of heating water? If so, what advantages does this method have over other ways of heating water for hot chocolate [microwave oven, stove top, lower cup into active volcano, etc.]? Can you think of other ways to heat water in the event of electrical power failures? 2. What are some factors that might have influenced the data you collected in this experiment? Does the type of cup holding the water have any effect on the results? For example, would you get the same results from styrofoam cups, heavy metal mugs, glass, or large pots? Energy Conversions I -- Page 4 of 6

5 Example problem You heated 250. ml of water from 15.0 C to 85.0 C with an immersion coil heater rated at 150. watts. The coil was plugged into an electrical circuit for 600. seconds. a. How many calories of heat were absorbed by the water? b. How many watt-hours of energy were produced by the coil? c. What is the efficiency of the process? Solution: a. Energy Output = temp. change mass 1 cal g C = (85.0 C C) 250. ml 1 g ml 1 cal g C = cal b. Energy Input = 150. W 600. s 1 hr 3600 s = 25.0 W hr c. Efficiency = Energy Output Energy Input 100% = cal 25.0 W hr W hr 860. cal 100% = 81.4% Energy Conversions I -- Page 5 of 6

6 Homework 1. Suppose you are given ² grams of an unknown liquid and told that you must heat it from 15.0 C to 65.0 C. Show the steps that you would use to determine its specific heat using an immersion coil. All critical data measurements must be shown in your method. At what point would you stop adding heat (before, just as, or after the thermometer reached 65.0 C)? 2. If a 100.-watt immersion coil left on for 185 seconds heated the liquid through the temperature change above, what is the specific heat of the liquid (assume 100% efficiency)? Energy Conversions I -- Page 6 of 6

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