<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >
By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Explain the technique of calorimetry
  • Calculate and interpret heat and related properties using typical calorimetry data

One technique we can use to measure the amount of heat involved in a chemical or physical process is known as calorimetry    . Calorimetry is used to measure amounts of heat transferred to or from a substance. To do so, the heat is exchanged with a calibrated object (calorimeter). The change in temperature of the measuring part of the calorimeter is converted into the amount of heat (since the previous calibration was used to establish its heat capacity). The measurement of heat transfer using this approach requires the definition of a system    (the substance or substances undergoing the chemical or physical change) and its surroundings    (the other components of the measurement apparatus that serve to either provide heat to the system or absorb heat from the system). Knowledge of the heat capacity of the surroundings, and careful measurements of the masses of the system and surroundings and their temperatures before and after the process allows one to calculate the heat transferred as described in this section.

A calorimeter    is a device used to measure the amount of heat involved in a chemical or physical process. For example, when an exothermic reaction occurs in solution in a calorimeter, the heat produced by the reaction is absorbed by the solution, which increases its temperature. When an endothermic reaction occurs, the heat required is absorbed from the thermal energy of the solution, which decreases its temperature ( [link] ). The temperature change, along with the specific heat and mass of the solution, can then be used to calculate the amount of heat involved in either case.

Two diagrams labeled a and b are shown. Each is made up of two rectangular containers with a thermometer inserted into the top right and extending inside. There is a right facing arrow connecting each box in each diagram. The left container in diagram a depicts a pink and green swirling solution with the terms “Exothermic process” and “System” written in the center with arrows facing away from the terms pointing to “q.” The labels “Solution” and “Surroundings” are written at the bottom of the container. The right container in diagram a has the term “Solution” written at the bottom of the container and a red arrow facing up near the thermometer with the phrase “Temperature increased” next to it. The pink and green swirls are more blended in this container. The left container in diagram b depicts a purple and blue swirling solution with the terms “Endothermic process” and “System” written in the center with arrows facing away from the terms and “Solution” and “Surroundings” written at the bottom. The arrows point away from the letter “q.” The right container in diagram b has the term “Solution” written at the bottom and a red arrow facing down near the thermometer with the phrase “Temperature decreased” next to it. The blue and purple swirls are more blended in this container.
In a calorimetric determination, either (a) an exothermic process occurs and heat, q , is negative, indicating that thermal energy is transferred from the system to its surroundings, or (b) an endothermic process occurs and heat, q , is positive, indicating that thermal energy is transferred from the surroundings to the system.

Scientists use well-insulated calorimeters that all but prevent the transfer of heat between the calorimeter and its environment. This enables the accurate determination of the heat involved in chemical processes, the energy content of foods, and so on. General chemistry students often use simple calorimeters constructed from polystyrene cups ( [link] ). These easy-to-use “coffee cup” calorimeters allow more heat exchange with their surroundings, and therefore produce less accurate energy values.

Two Styrofoam cups are shown nested in one another with a cover over the top. A thermometer and stirring rod are inserted through the cover and into the solution inside the cup, which is shown as a cut-away. The stirring rod has a double headed arrow next to it facing up and down. The liquid mixture inside the cup is labeled “Reaction mixture.”
A simple calorimeter can be constructed from two polystyrene cups. A thermometer and stirrer extend through the cover into the reaction mixture.

Commercial solution calorimeters are also available. Relatively inexpensive calorimeters often consist of two thin-walled cups that are nested in a way that minimizes thermal contact during use, along with an insulated cover, handheld stirrer, and simple thermometer. More expensive calorimeters used for industry and research typically have a well-insulated, fully enclosed reaction vessel, motorized stirring mechanism, and a more accurate temperature sensor ( [link] ).

Questions & Answers

to what volume must 8.32 NaOH be diluted to its analytical concentration 0.20 M
Sheriza Reply
weight in mg 1.76 mole of I
the types of hydrocarbons
Ohanaka Reply
u are mad go and open textbook
aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons
I don't use to see the messages
Adazion Reply
how can you determine the electronegativity of a compound or in molecules
Shalom Reply
when u move from left to right in a periodic table the negativity increases
Are you trying to say that the elctronegativity increases down the group and decreases across the period?
yes and also increases across the period
for instance when you look at one group of elements in a periodic table electronegativity decreases when you go across the table electronegativity increases. hydrogen is more electronegative than sodium, potassium of that group. oxygen is more electronegative than carbon.
i hope we all know that organic compounds have carbon as their back bone
OK,Thank you so much for the answer. I am happy now
Adazion Reply
can I ask you a question now
what is the oxidation number of nitrogen, oxygen and sulphur
5, -2 & -2
What is an atom?
Adazion Reply
is a smallest particle of a chemical element that can exist
can I ask a question
it is a substance that cannot be broken down into simpler units by any chemical reaction
An atom is the smallest part of an element dat can take part in chemical reaction.
an atom is the smallest part of an element that can take part in a chemical reaction nd still retain it chemical properties
Is the smallest particles of an element that take part in chemical reaction without been change
what are the branches of an atomic mass
Adazion Reply
Still waiting for answers for a very long time now
Please May una reply me ooo
that question is very strong oooo
most of the questions I asked wasn't answered what's the problem guys?
Adazion Reply
hi, there is no problems ooo
between H2SO4 and HCL which is the strongest dehydrating agent ?
HCl is the strongest dehydrating agent
ᴡʜᴀᴛ ᴡɪʟʟ ᴏʙsᴇʀᴠᴇᴅ ɪғ ʟᴇᴀᴅ(ɪɪ)ɴɪᴛʀᴀᴛᴇs ɪs ᴀᴅᴅᴇᴅ ᴏɴ ᴛᴏ sᴏᴅɪᴜᴍ ɪᴏᴅɪᴅᴇ sᴏʟᴜᴛɪᴏɴ
Gawaar Reply
what is the functional group of alkanals
Frankyx Reply
can someone explain salt analysis properly
Find the number of calcium atoms present in a sample weighing 2.0*10 raise to the power of -3g
Mfoniso Reply
What does avogadro's law states?
Debora Reply
what is chemistry?
Adazion Reply
Is a branch of science that deals with matter in relation to energy
permanent hardness of water can be removed by ?
Okorie Reply
What are the basic area in in chemistry
John Reply
acid, base and salt
Why do people study chemistry
becuz chemistry is the study of elements, nature and etc
and also the study of matter and atom
is chemistry hard
the answer to that question depends on you
what kind of question are u asking fam?
his asking if chemistry is hard
not really just a matter of you willing to study
Practice Key Terms 6

Get the best Chemistry course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, Chemistry. OpenStax CNX. May 20, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11760/1.9
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Chemistry' conversation and receive update notifications?