Class Copy

Candle/Chips Calorie Lab (IEP)

Question

Which fuel provides the most energy (calories) per gram?

Background

You will be determining the relative energy content of fuels. Remember: 1 ml of water = 1 gram of water. Note: We will use a delta notation (Δ) to indicate a difference between data.

calorie
The amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water by 1 Celsius degree.
Calorie
Spelled with a capital C, a Calorie is equal to 1000 calories spelled with a lowercase c.

Hypothesis

(Student provided)

Materials:

tea light candle 2-3 Chips aluminum foil substrate  
soda can thermometer white paper substrate coat hanger stand

Procedure:

  1. Cut or tear a piece of substrate (paper or foil) to approximately 12cm x 12cm.
  2. Place the fuel on the substrate. Use paper for the candle and foil for the Cheetos.
  3. Weigh both the substrate and the fuel. Record your results (before).
  4. Measure out between 30 and 40 ml of water. Record the exact measurement.
  5. Empty the soda can that you will be using for this experiment. Don't break off the tab.
  6. Pour the water into the soda can.
  7. Take the temperature of the water inside the soda can and record (before).
  8. Ask your instructor to light the fuel for you. Immediately place it under the soda can positioning the can as close to the fuel as possible without putting it out.
  9. If at any point your water reaches a rolling boil, put out your fuel with an inverted beaker and take the temperature of the water inside (after).
  10. After 20 minutes or when your fuel goes out take the temperature of the water inside the soda can and record (after).
  11. Subtract the final temperature and the initial temperature. Record this difference (Δ).
  12. Weigh the substrate and fuel again. Record (after).
  13. Subtract the final weight of the substrate and the fuel from the initial weight of the substrate and the fuel. Record the difference (Δ).
 

Data Table

Fuel Data Table
Measurement Candle Chips
Fuel + substrate mass (before) (g)
Fuel + substrate mass (after) (g)
Δ fuel mass (g)

Water Data Table
Measurement Candle Chips
Water volume (ml)
Water temperature (before) °C
Water temperature (after) °C
Δ water temperature °C

Analysis

Analysis Table
Calculation Candle Chips
Total calories = Δ water temp * mass of water.
Total calories / Δ fuel mass

  1. Which fuel generated the most calories? Support you choice with analysis numbers.
  2. Which fuel generated the most calories per gram of fuel? Support you choice with analysis numbers.
  3. If you burned 20g of candle wax how many calories would be created? Show your calculations.
  4. If you burned 20g of Cheetos how many calories would be created? Show your calculations.
  5. Since candle wax supplied the most calories per gram why don't emergency food rations have candle wax?
  6. Since Cheetos burned so well why don't we use them on birthday cakes?
  7. Compare and contrast energy generation and work done for you on skates at the Skate Barn and in go-carts at the Blue Fox Drive-in.