Thermodynamics: Specific Heat
Determine the specific heat of a metal object and identify the metal based on its specific heat.
The relationship between temperature and heat can be very perplexing to students. In this activity your students will measure a change in temperature to show a transfer of heat energy. With careful measurement of mass and temperature change they will build a very physical understanding of heat transfer the capacity of different metals to absorb and release heat energy (specific heat).
When a metal object of known mass and known initial temperature is placed in a known mass of water of a known initial temperature, the change in temperature of the system can be used to calculate the specific heat of the metal.
- Download Free Lab (PDF, 388 KB) (386 KB, .pdf)
Use a Temperature Probe to measure the change in temperature of a known amount of water when a sample of metal of known mass and initial temperature is put into the water.
Here's What You Need
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PASPORT Fast Response Temperature Probe (3 pack) (PS-2135)
Allows students to see changes in temperature they could never see before. For use with PASPORT and ScienceWorkshop Interfaces.
Xplorer GLX (PS-2002)(or alternate PASPORT interface — see other options)
The Xplorer GLX is a data collection, graphing, and analysis tool designed for science students and educators.
Basic Calorimetry Set (TD-8557A)
Students can determine the specific heat of a substance, the latent heats of vaporization, and fusion of water.
Ohaus Triple-Beam Balance (without Tare) (SE-8723)
This Ohaus triple-beam mechanical balance (without tare) is accurate and easy to use. This balance has been a standard weighing instrument in student laboratories for decades.
Graduated Cylinder, 50 ml (12 Pack) (SE-7289)
This 50 ml Graduated Cylinder is borosillicate student-grade glassware for use in the physics lab. Package of 12.
Braided Physics String (SE-8050)
This string is tough, resists stretching, and will not unravel. Provides 320 meters of string.
- Stir rod
- Water, 300 mL
- Ice, cubed or crushed, 100 mL
This activity is included in Physics with the Xplorer GLX (PS-2826), complete with Teacher Information pages, student instructions and handouts, and sample data for a total of 35 probeware-based labs. For your convenience, we offer bundles which provide the probeware necessary for the activities in the manual. For more information on these resources and bundles, click here.