While completing the experiment about heat capacity we found many interesting things. One of these was that the heat capacity differs due to the chemicals the substance contains. The chemicals are only able to contain a certain amount of heat, and since they are the warmer substance compared to the water which was placed at 1 degrees Celsius, they lost their heat away to the water. This is called thermal heat. The substances lost heat due to the cold water. However, some substances, such as vinegar, were not able to give away their heat as much as others. During this process of letting our their heat, the substances do as much as possible to avoid it. For example, when humans go scuba diving they try to stay as warm as possible by doing things like swimming, so they do not give their warmth away to the colder substance: the water. However, the substances do not have the ability to be active in the water to warm themselves up, so their heat is transferred to the water.
Some things we observed were that the water, which was our control, dropped rapidly at first, but began to level off at about 20 seconds. The kitchen oil began to level off at about 40 seconds, and the vinegar began to level off at about 50 seconds. We think the water adapted to the ice water more quickly than the other substances, because they have the same ingrediants, since the ice is just frozen water. The rubbing alcohol was different from the pattern we saw emerging in the other substances. It took the rubbing alcohol more time than the other substances to begin to level off. It took a very steep drop in the first 22 seconds, and then it started to level off. The rubbing alcohol let off most of its heat in those first seconds, therefore had little heat left to give to the water. The vinegar, on the other hand, lost most of its heat in the first eleven seconds, and then it leveled off. Similarly to the vinegar, the water took most of the oil's heat in the first twelve seconds, and then the oil started to level off, having almost no more heat to warm itself up. After these four substances let off their heat, the water warmed up to about 2 degrees Celsius because of their combined heat given to the water.
After we printed out our graphs and did the error analysis we discovered that our graphs had been graphed with improper units. My partner and myself found that our graphs were measured in voltage instead of degrees as we had assumed. Therefore our measurements are labled as temperature units. Our information is correct, but the measurements are labled "temperature untis" greater than "degrees Celsius."
When we did our hypothesis we had no idea what the results would turn out to be. The temperature could drop 50 degrees Celsius or 5 degrees Celsius. When we did our experiment we found that some of our predictions were not far off at all. For example, our kitchen oil hypothesis was that the temperature would drop from room temperature to about 1 degree Celsius. Although the temperature actually dropped to 0.0815 temperature units in the first graph, we were off only by 0.9185 degrees Celsius. In the second graph the kitchen oil dropped to 0.07522 temperature units, therefore we were off by 0.9248 degrees Celsius. In the third and final graph the kitchen oil dropped to 0.0781 temperature units. That means that our hypothesis was off by 0.9219 degrees Celsius. All in all, that is a relatively close prediction.
Another example was the water, which was our control. Our prediction for the water temperature was also 1 degree Celsius. In reality the water temperature dropped to 0.0840 temperature units in the first graph, which meant our prediction was off by 0.916 degrees Celsius. In the second graph the water dropped to the same temperature, making our hypothesis wrong by 0.916 degrees Celsius once again. Finally, in the third graph the water dropped to 0.859 temperature units, which made our predictions wrong by only 0.141 degrees Celsius. This, too was not a bad prediction.
The third example was the vinegar. This substance was not one of the best examples we have to show. Our hypothesis was that the temperature would drop to 3 degrees Celsius. In the first graph the vinegar dropped to 0.0986 temperature units, which made our prediction wrong by 2.9014 degrees Celsius. The second graph showed the vinegar ending at 0.0801 temperature units. That made our hypothesis wrong by 2.9199 degrees Celsius. The last graph, graph number 3 ended up at 0.0508 temperature units, which showed that our hypothesis was wrong by 2.9492 degrees Celsius. As you can see the vinegar hypothesis was extremely far off from the real results.
The last and final substance we used in our experiment was the rubbing alcohol. Our hypothesis for this substance was that it would go down from room temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius. In the first graph it went down to 0.0840 temperature units, which showed that we were off by 1.416 degrees Celsius. In the second graph the rubbing alcohol ended up at 0.0610 temperature units. This proved that our hypothesis was off by 1.439 degrees Celsius. The last graph showed the rubbing alcohol ending up at 0.0772 temperature units, making our prediction wrong by 1.4228 degrees Celsius.
Although our experiment worked rather well, we did have a large amount of error. The three different minimums for the kitchen oil were: 0.0851, 0.0752, and 0.0781. After we did the error analysis we found that the error percentage for the kitchen oil was 2.94%. Considering the other error analysis we found this error was a fairly small percentage. The vinegar's error was an extremely large percentage. The three points the graph ended up at were: 0.0986, 0.0801, and 0.0508. After we found this error percentage we were considerably astounded because the error percentage was so much larger than the kitchen oil error. The vinegar error was 22.35%. The rubbing alcohol error percentage was also a fairly large percentage, but not as large as the vinegar error percentage. The three different temperature units where the graph ended up were: 0.0840, 0.0610, 0.0772. The final error percentage was 11.74%. The water was the control of our experiment. As mentioned before the water leveled off quickly because our water and ice water have the same ingredients, except for the ice. Therefore the ice water percentage was very small. The three different water places the graph ended up were: 0.084, 0.084, 0.059. The error percentage was a mere .9%.
/\Q=MC/\T We are using this formula theoretically, not mathematically. This equation means that the change in the heat transferred is equal to the product of mass times the heat capacity times the change in temperature, or the range of temperature. In conclusion, we learned that heat capacity is the amount of heat that a substance contains. We also learned that the heat capacity is related to everyday water life, such as swimming, diving, and other activities. We had a great time doing our experiment!


 Home Page

Background Essay

Method & Materials



 Analytic Essay 

Lab Report






 Links Page


 DEEP Site