# IB Physics Thermodynamics Lab- "The purpose of this lab is to determine the identity of an unknown metal, and to prove whether the laws of thermodynamics hold when determining this identity."

Essay by extreme_FredHigh School, 11th gradeA+, January 2004

Thermodynamics Lab

Purpose:

The purpose of this lab is to determine the identity of an unknown metal, and to prove whether the laws of thermodynamics hold when determining this identity. Using the accepted specific heat of water (4186 J/kg ÃÂ· oC), heat flow between two different sets of water though the conduction of an unknown metal can provide useful data in determining the identity. The heat transfers can be calculated to approximate the specific heat of the unknown metal.

When heat is transferred to an object, the temperature of the object increases. When heat is removed from an object, the temperature of the object decreases. The relationship between the heat (q) that is transferred and the change in temperature (DT) is: q = mCDT = mC ÃÂ· (Tf - Ti).

After the specific heat of the metal is found, it can then be compared to known specific heat values of various metals, which in turn will allow for a probable identity of the unknown metal to arise.

Hypothesis:

The identity of the unknown metal is aluminum. This can be inferred from the unknown metal's appearance, which resembles aluminum it its color, light weight, and luster. The laws of thermodynamics will hold when determining the unknown metal. The laws of thermodynamics must apply in order for heat flow to occur during the experimentation.

Materials:

The materials used in the lab were two calorimeters (insulated, Styrofoam containers), an unknown metal in the shape of a wide horseshoe, two thermometers, a balance, water, a beaker, and a Bunsen burner.

Procedure:

1. Measure the weight of the Pyrex beaker, and then pour 200 mL into the beaker. Weigh the beaker filled with water. Record both weights to find the weight of the water by itself. Let this mass of water be labeled '1'. Next,