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Specific Heat Capacity

PHY 100 & 103


After a preliminary exercise in finding thermal equilibrium, students determine the specific heat capacity, c of an unknown metal. To do this, the metal sample is heated to a high measured temperature and then placed into much cooler water of known temperature, after which the equilibrium temperature is recorded. By isolating the water and metal inside a covered, double-nested, styrofoam joulimetry cup, the amount of heat the water gains from the metal object can be considered equal to the amount of heat lost by the object, and the simple resulting equation solved for c of the unknown. The experiment is then repeated using twice as much water to see the effect on the result.


Name Location Quantity
Hot Plates JE-105A-S39 1 per table
Styrofoam Cups (Large) JE-105A-S33 4 per table
Blocks, Metal - density, heat, measurement, etc JE-105A-D74 1 per table
Calorimeter - Outer Can JE-105A-S34 1 per table
Thermometer, Digital, Traceable - Battery JE-105A-D77 1 per table
Lifting Tool JE-105A-D74 1 per table
Model, Matter - Rectangle Spring JE-113A-DS76-285 1 per room
Coffee Percolator JE-105A-S41 1 per room
Calorimeter - Lid, Plastic JE-105A-S28 1 per table


Use one hooked metal cube per table, but do not use lead (has low melting point). Put out 4 Styrofoam cups per table IN PAIRS. Be certain cups have no holes. Place the calorimeter lid on one of the sets of foam cups, NOT on the calorimeter can. Also DO NOT put out the smaller inner can! Lifting tools are large paper clips appropriately un-bent and should be saved for reuse, hence the bag of them in the drawer with the metal blocks.

Put out the coffee pot, the instructor will take care of the hot water. Along with the initial apparatus set-up, supply a sufficient number of the appropriate paper procedure handouts for all of the lab sections that will use the set-up over the course of the week. Print the PDF, duplicate to double-sided pages, staple, and leave pile on instructor's table prior to first use of set-up.

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Item modified on 2017-02-23 15:18:18 by preisingc1.