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Specific Heat Capacity Experiment

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IGCSE Physics Lessons
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A series of free GCSE/IGCSE Physics Notes and Lessons.

Specific Heat Capacity Experiment

The specific heat capacity of a substance is the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of 1 kg of the substance by 1°C.

In these lessons, we will
• Describe a practical that can be used to determine the specific heat capacity of a material.

Specific Heat Capacity Practical

Steps to determine the specific heat capacity.
1. Place a beaker on a balance and press zero.
2. Now add the oil to the beaker and record the mass of the oil.
3. Read the starting temperature of the oil.
4. Connect a joulemeter to the immersion heater.
5. Time for thirty minutes.
6. Read the number of joules of energy that passed into the immersion heater.
7. Read the final temperature of the oil.
8. Use the following formula to calculate the specific heat capacity.

Specific Heat Capacity Formula

Results and Calculations:
0.95 kg of oil was heated from 20°C to 75 °C. 87258J of electrical energy passed into the immersion heater. Calculate the specific heat capacity of the oil.

Sources of inaccuracy
1. Thermal energy passing out of the beaker into the air - Use an insulator with a lower thermal conductivity.
2. Not all thermal energy passing into the oil - Ensure that immersion heater is fully submerged.
3. Incorrect reading of thermometer - Use an electronic temperature probe.
4. Thermal energy not being spread through the oil - Stir the oil.

Experiment to show how to find the specific heat capacity of a metal.

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