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Specific Heat Capacity and Heat of Fusion

PHY 200 & 230

Lab PDF 1
Lab PDF 2

Students perform four distinct experiments and utilize the same heat energy conservation principle to respectively determine equilibrium temperature, heat capacity of a metal cup, heat capacity of an unknown metal sample, and the latent heat of fusion of water. Students identify the unknown metal sample from a table of known specific heat capacity values for common materials. With sufficient thermal isolation for negligible environmental heat loss or gain, the amount of heat lost from the initially hotter material must equal the amount gained by the initially cooler material, thus the sum of all heat changes equals zero.

Hot water (at least 70 degrees C) can be prepared in the large coffee pot or in the microwave oven. The unknown metal is heated in simmering water on an electric hot plate at each table OR in a single large boiling pot over a Bunsen burner on the sink counter. Boiling pots must NOT be covered nor contain a ring nor inner can. Metal sample must be completely immersed in water when heating.


Name Location Quantity
Calorimters - Rings JE-105A-S34 1 per table
Calorimeter, inner can JE-105A-S34,35 1 per table
Hot Plates JE-105A-S40 1 per table
Thermometer, Digital, Traceable - Battery JE-105A-D77 1 per table
Styrofoam Cups (Large) JE-105A-S33 4 per table
Calorimeter - Lid, Plastic JE-105A-S28 1 per table
Blocks, Metal - density, heat, measurement, etc JE-105A-D74 1 per table
Timer, - MyChron, Battery JE-105A-D62 1 per table
Graduated Cylinders (100mL) JE-105A-S81 1 per table
Coffee Percolator JE-105A-S117 1 per room
Cooler JE-105A-S117 1 per room
Calorimeter - Outer Can JE-105A-S34 2 per table
Lifting Tool JE-105A-D74 1 per table
Model, Matter - Rectangle Spring JE-113A-DS76-285 1 per room


1) There is a bag of lifting devices in D74 (large unfolded paper clips.)
Distribute Aluminum, Brass, and Iron blocks such that tables next to each other do not have the same metal. (Do NOT use Lead.)

2) Put out 4 Styrofoam cups per table IN PAIRS. Be certain cups have no holes.

3) Do NOT use the Stainless Steel cans!

4) Put the microwave oven (from the modern physics lab), coffee percolator (green) and the blue or white ice cooler(s) on the counter by the sinks. Ice must be acquired near classtime from friends in the Biology or Chemistry Departments. If you cannot be present to get ice nor arrange for someone else to, please inform the instructor as soon as possible.

5) Put out one of the springy matter models on the instructor's table.

6) Make sure that the room has plenty of paper.

7) Put out the microwave from JE 213 in the back of the room for heating water as a backup. Get key to JE213 from the secretary or other faculty or staff member.

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Item modified on 2017-01-13 17:25:24 by andersone1.