Calorimetry of Fuels and the Use of Energy to Do Work

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1 1/28/09 Calorimetry of Fuels and the Use of Energy to Do Work The Energy-Work Connection This experiment will be done on February 2 nd & 3 rd, in place of The System experiment. Adapted by Caitlin Conn and Patrick Crooks from The Chemurgy of Peanuts by Genevieve Miller

2 Introduction NOTE: If you are allergic to peanuts, please inform your instructor or TA immediately so that you can be assigned a different lab. Energy is crucial to the survival of every living thing. As humans, our bodies need to remain within a relatively narrow temperature range. We burn food (internally) to stay warm. Additionally, because all systems tend to move toward disorder without an input of energy, we would die without food. We need bodily fuel so that we can function, and we burn it when we walk, talk, sleep, exercise, and study. You may have heard of burning calories in reference to exercise. Please note that calories are never burned. A calorie is simply a measure of energy, and that energy is actually released during a combustion reaction. During exercise, the body burns food to release energy, and that energy can be measured in different units, such as calories. Combustion reactions take place within our bodies when we burn food. A combustion reaction is defined in Chemistry: The Central Science as [a] chemical reaction that proceeds with evolution of heat and usually also a flame. This textbook goes on to say that most combustion reactions involve oxygen (1). Different fuels can be burned to release energy. Food, for example, is a type of fuel burned by the body. Another type of fuel with which you will use in this experiment is paraffin. Paraffin is the material of candles. When you burn a candle, the paraffin is combusted, and heat is released. The energy released by paraffin combustion can be used to light or heat areas of different sizes, depending upon how much paraffin is combusted. You will be determining the energy released by the combustion of paraffin as part of this lab. You will also examine the calorie content of a common food item, peanuts. If you have a peanut allergy, please tell your instructor or your TA right away so that you can be assigned a different makeup lab. Peanuts are used in a variety of different food items, and also in substances like cosmetics and paint. George Washington Carver was largely responsible for identifying the many different uses of peanuts and for using peanuts to serve many different purposes (2). To calculate the energy content of different substances, you will be building your own calorimeter out of household items. A calorimeter is defined as an apparatus that measures the evolution of heat (1). You will burn several substances and use temperature changes in water to determine the energy released by the combustion. Then you will answer theoretical questions to help you understand the connections between calories and work. You will need to use the textbooks provided for you in your classroom in order to complete some parts of this lab. Please make sure to cite these sources properly. 2

3 Background Chemistry Overview The metabolic reactions that take place inside our body are vital to our existence. One of the most fundamental examples of metabolism is digestion. The process of digestion is most certainly a chemical one it is an example of a combustion reaction: food reacts with oxygen to generate energy. Foods produce the same amount of energy whether they undergo combustion under metabolic conditions or they are burned outside the body. We can, then, calculate the energy value of food by burning it and measuring the amount of heat that is released from the reaction. To ensure accuracy, chemists use calorimeters, devices that measure temperature changes from chemical reactions, to determine the energy produced by a reaction. Food energy is measured in Food Calories (with a capital C ). One Food Calorie is 1000 times bigger than a scientific calorie that is, 1 Cal = 1 kcal = 1000 cal. One calorie is the energy required to raise the temperature of 1 g of water by 1 C from a standard temperature at 1 atm pressure. Throughout this lab, we will use Calorie with a capital C to indicate Food Calories. In this experiment, you will measure the amount of energy released by the combustion of several different fuels. The energy released during the combustion will raise the temperature of a measured volume of water in a simple calorimeter. We can determine the exact amount of energy released because we know the specific heat of water. The specific heat of water is 1.0 cal per g per C, or 1 Cal per kg per C. By measuring the temperature change in a known mass of water, you can determine the amount of energy. Energy released = (mass of H 2 O heated) * (temperature increase) * (specific heat of H 2 O) (Eqn. 1) (2) Paraffin Calorimetry Paraffin can be burned to release energy. Typically, the energy content of paraffin, which is found in candles, is 10.0 k cal/g (3). Another word for paraffin is alkane, which is a particular type of organic molecule. Just as there are many alkanes, there are many different kinds of paraffin. Most paraffins are not very reactive at room temperature and one atmosphere pressure, but they can be combusted by increasing temperature and/or pressure. Paraffin combustion produces water and carbon dioxide and releases energy (4). Besides being used in candles, paraffin was being considered as a potential rocket fuel as of NASA noted the increased safety and decreased pollution that would result from using paraffin as an energy source (5). Paraffin is also used as a cosmetic and is frequently applied to the skin to soften it. 3

4 Peanut Calorimetry Peanuts are known for their high energy value. On average, a peanut contains 6 Cal per g of energy. In fact, one pound of peanut butter contains the same food energy found in 32 eggs or 2.5 pounds of steak. It is this energy value and the low cost of producing peanuts that led Carver to stress their importance during the Depression. Peanut oil can be represented by the following molecule with molecular formula C 57 H 104 O 6. Please note that at each vertex, carbon and hydrogen are present. Each vertex represents one carbon, and hydrogens are attached so that each carbon has four bonds. Figure 1. The molecular structure of peanut oil. (2) The combustion reaction for peanut oil, given in Figure 1, is shown in Equation 1. C 57 H 104 O 6 (l) + 80 O 2 (g) 57 CO 2 (g) + 52 H 2 O (l) + heat (Eqn. 2) (2) Energy Conversion Energy can be measured in many different units. You may need to refer to the textbooks available to you in the classroom to complete some of the questions in this lab. You will also need to understand foot-pounds. A foot-pound is the energy required to lift one pound one foot high. 1 calorie = 3.08 foot-pounds, 1 Joule = foot-pounds, 1 calorie = 4.18 Joules (6) You will use this information to relate energy and work. Be sure to properly cite any additional sources that you find in your classroom library and use to complete your questions. 4

5 References 1. Brown, Theodore L., H. Eugene LeMay, Jr., and Bruce E. Bursten. Chemistry: The Central Science. 10 th Edition. Page G3. Pearson Education, Inc: Upper Saddle River, NJ, Miller, Genevieve. The Chemurgy of Peanuts. Chemistry 111 Makeup Lab. Spring The Energy Content of Fuels: A Physical Science Activity. University of Virginia Physics Department. October 25, < /outreach/8thgradesol /FuelEnergy.htm>. 4. McMurry, John. Organic Chemistry. 7 th Edition. Page 91. Thomson Learning, Inc: Belmont, CA, Candle Stick Rocketship. NASA. January 9, October 25, < gov/headlines/y2003/28jan_envirorocket.htm. 6. Walker, Jearl. Fundamentals of Physics Part 3. John Wiley and Sons, Inc: Hoboken, NJ,

6 Additional Reading 1. Markow, Peter G., Estimating the Calorie Content of Nuts, Chemical Education Resources, Inc., Pennsylvania,1993. (Many of the experiments in Genevieve Miller s make-up lab, Reference 2, are based on this publication.) 6

7 Quiz Outline There will not be a quiz on this lab. A post-lab quiz on Experiment 3 (Small Scale Techniques) will be given on the day of the experiment. NOTE: Please bring an empty soda can (or two!) to lab for this experiment. 7

8 Laboratory Experiments Flowchart of the Experiments Section A. The Construction of a Calorimeter Section B. Thermodynamics of a Burning Candle Section C. Combustion of a Peanut Section D. Energy and Work 8

9 Section A. The Construction of a Calorimeter Goal: Before You Begin: To build a functional small-scale calorimeter that is capable of determining the amount of heat released in a chemical reaction. You are about to build a device similar to the one in the diagram shown below. As you work through this section, refer to the diagram to facilitate your own construction. You may work in pairs for this experiment. Small-scale calorimeter. Experimental Steps: 1. Obtain 1 empty aluminum soda can, 1 metal triangle, a square piece of cardboard about 15 cm x 15 cm, a ring stand, (this consists of a stand, a ring, and a clamp) and a thermometer. These materials will be used to construct your calorimeter. 9

10 2. Suspend your can in the middle of the ring using the provided materials. Experiment with different set-ups if necessary. You may not need to use all the provided materials. Check with a TA to make sure your set-up is sufficient. 3. Place the cardboard square on top of the can, and put a mark on the place directly above the hole in the top of the soda can. Punch a hole in the cardboard square at the spot you marked, and insert the thermometer in this hole. The hole should be small enough to hold the thermometer in place. Place the cardboard square on top of the soda can and adjust the position of the thermometer until the bulb extends into the can about 5 cm from the bottom. Section B. Thermodynamics of a Burning Candle Goal: To observe the thermodynamic change of a burning candle using the homemade calorimeter. Experimental Steps: 1. Carefully measure ml of room temperature distilled water. Note: the distilled water spigots can be rotated outward to fill large containers more conveniently. Remove the thermometer assembly from the soda can and pour the water into the can. 2. Reposition the thermometer assembly and measure the initial water temperature. Record this temperature in your lab notebook. 3. Obtain a candle and the bottom part of a petri dish(the smaller part). Stand the candle up in the petri dish. 4. Determine the mass of the combined candle, and petri dish. Record your value. 5. Transfer the candle and dish to the ring stand, directly underneath the calorimeter. Adjust the can clamp so that 10

11 the bottom of the can rests 1-2 cm above the top of the candle. 6. Light the candle and let it burn. When the temperature of the water has risen by approximately 10 degrees, blow out the candle and record the final temperature of the water. 7. Again, find the mass of the candle and petri dish system Record your value. Q1. Find the energy released per gram of paraffin. Put your answer in terms of Food Calories/g. Q2. The accepted energy content value for paraffin is 10.0 kcal/g. Convert this value to Food Calories per gram. Q3. How does the value you found compare with the accepted value of the energy content of paraffin? Calculate your percent error. Q4. (a) What are some possible sources of error in this experiment? (b) What is the largest source of error? (c) What can be altered in the experiment to improve the accuracy of the calorimeter? 9. Make any change to your calorimeter that you think will improve its accuracy and repeat steps 1-8. Q5. (a) What change did you make to your calorimeter? (b) Did you get a more accurate result for the energy capacity of paraffin? Q6. Create a table that organizes all of your data from both trials. Q7. Patrick thinks that burning the candle until the temperature has risen only 5 degrees will yield more accurate results, but Caitlin thinks that it won t make a difference. Who is right, and why? Section C. Combustion of a Peanut 11

12 Goal: To observe the thermodynamic change of a burning peanut using the homemade calorimeter. Experimental Steps: 1. To construct a peanut support stand, first obtain a paper clip and a cork. 2. Straighten one end of the paper clip. Insert the end of the paper clip into the center of the end of the cork which has the small diameter. You will place the peanut support stand on the base of the ring stand used in the calorimeter assembly. (See figure in Section A). 3. Carefully measure ml of room temperature distilled water. Remove the thermometer assembly from the soda can and pour the water into the can. Record the amount of water used. 2. Reposition the thermometer assembly. 3. Select half of one peanut for your study. 4. Determine the mass of the peanut half. Record this value. 5. Transfer the peanut half to the support stand by inserting the free end of the paper clip into the peanut half. Position the peanut support stand underneath the can so that the peanut is 1-2 cm below the bottom of the can. 6. Measure the initial water temperature. Record this temperature. 7. Ignite the peanut. (This may take several attempts be careful not to burn yourself.) Extinguish the match by putting it into some water. 8. Immediately after the peanut stops burning, determine the final temperature of the water. Record this temperature. 9. What remains of the peanut is called the peanut residue. Allow the peanut residue to cool to room temperature. Determine the mass of the peanut residue. 10. Record the mass of the peanut burned by subtracting the mass of the peanut residue from the initial mass of the peanut. 12

13 Q8. Calculate the average amount of energy released per gram of peanut burned in Food Calories/g. Q9. Find the accepted value for the energy content of a peanut in Food Calories/g by reading the nutrition information on the peanut bag. Calculate percent error of your value compared to the accepted value. 11. Repeat steps 3-10, this time using a whole peanut. Q10. Calculate the average amount of energy released per gram of peanut burned. How does this value compare to that of the first trial using the peanut half? Should these values be different? Why or why not? Q11. Create a table that organizes all of your data from both trials. Q12. The peanut residue looks very similar to charcoal, a compound of pure carbon. Consider the combustion reaction of charcoal and use enthalpies of formation to calculate a theoretical energy yield for the peanut residue. (Use data from either trial). Hint: C (s) + O 2 (g) CO 2 (g) ΔH f of Carbon Dioxide = kj/mole Q13. Add the energy released by the burning peanut with the theoretical energy of the peanut residue to get the total theoretical energy of the peanut. Divide this by the original mass of the peanut to get a theoretical energy of the peanut in Food Calories/g. How does this value compare to your previous calculated values? How does it compare to the accepted value? Section D. Energy and Work Goal: To theoretically relate energy and work concepts. Experimental Steps: 1. One foot-pound is the amount of energy expended when a force of one pound acts through a distance of one foot along the direction of the force. Have one lab member perform an action of work and convert the amount of work 13

14 done into foot-pounds. (Ex: step up 0.5 foot on a stool rung or lift a 1-pound book three feet) Q14. Convert the amount of work you just did into Food Calories. Q15. (a) Guess how many grams of peanuts you would have to eat to do the amount of work you did in question 1. (Assume that all the potential energy in the peanut is completely combusted in the body and turned into usable energy). (b) Now calculate how many grams of peanuts are required using the nutritional information from the peanut label. Q16. Was your guess higher or lower than your calculated value? Q17. When running, a person can burn Food Calories/ mile/pound. How many food calories does a 150-pound person burn after running a mile? Q18. Theoretically, how many grams of peanuts would you have to eat to run a mile? (Assume, again, that all the potential energy in the peanut is completely combusted in the body and turned into usable energy.) Does this answer surprise you? 14

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