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1. What was the temperature change for the water in the calorimeter (ΔTwater)? 3°C
2. What was the temperature change for the metal sample (ΔTmetal)? Assume the intial temperature of the metal was the same as the temperature of the water it was boiled in. 70°C
3. What was the specific heat of water in J/g°C?
4. Using the following equation, your answers to questions 1-3, and your data table, determine the specific heat of the metal sample you tested.
5. Identify you metal using the list of specific heat values provided. The metal that was identified was Zinc.
6. Calculate the percent error in the specific heat value that you determined experimentally.
The purpose of this experiment was to determine the identity of a mystery metal by finding the specific heat of the metal and comparing it to a list of specific heat values for different metals. Before beginning the lab and during the lab, the mass of the metal sample and water sample was taken. This information was later used to help determine the specific heat of the mystery metal. The temperature of the boiling water, the temperature of the water in the calorimeter without the metal, and the temperature of the water and metal in the calorimeter were also collected to help determine the mystery metal. After this, the temperature changes for the water in the calorimeter and the metal sample were collected. After all the data was gathered, an equation was used to find the specific heat of the mystery metal and determine its true identity. The calculated specific heat of the metal was 0.231 J/g°C. Even though this was close to the specific heat of Cadmium, the actual metal was Zinc, which had a specific heat of 0.390 J/g°C. The purpose of the lab was met, but not very well. There was a percent error of 40%, which is ridiculously high.
Many things could’ve gone wrong in the lab such as reading the thermometer wrong, miscalculating the specific heat of the “mystery” metal, or not following the procedure. One thing that could’ve gone wrong is the possibility of reading the thermometer wrong. Reading the thermometer wrong could’ve resulted in the failure of the entire lab. Another possible error was miscalculating the specific heat. This is very plausible and easy to achieve. It is no surprise if it happened during the lab. One final error could’ve been not following the procedure. Not following the procedure could’ve easily messed up the entire lab. Following directions is a very crucial part of any lab.
Despite these errors, there are ways to fix them. One solution is to use a digital thermometer instead. This would eliminate the possibility of reading the thermometer wrong. Another solution is to explain the equation more clearly. Making the equation as clear as possible to anyone who may use it could definitely almost completely erase the misunderstanding of an equation. One last solution is to read the procedure thoroughly multiple times before starting the lab. This would ensure that no direction has been skipped or skimmed, and the lab will run smoothly.