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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

what is electricity
Lorrita Reply
electricity refers to the flow electrons
Hi. please can you tell me more on chemical equation
Gift Reply
When 1 or 2 chemicals react, they rearrange their atomic composition forming new compounds. The total mass before and after is the same/ constant. Chemical equations of same reactants react in same ratios e.g. 1 Na ion reacts with 1 water molecule or a multipier like 1 mole of Na ions react with 1
Mole of water molecules. In that example we multipied by 6.02*10^23 or avogadro constant (L). Or 2 Na+ ions with two water molecules. The arrow means '' to form '' Some times conditions or reactants are written above the arrow like H+ or enzyme or temper, sometimes physical states are written
Beside the chemical Aqueous (aq) which means solute dissolved on water. Solid (s) etc Some chemical equations are written next to it ΔH= # which means enthalpy change which describes if the reaction is endothermic (+) or exothermic (-).
Some are reversible and have half double arrow sign.
what is the meaning of atoma
Ibrahim Reply
what is theory
Michael Reply
what is chemical compound
A compound is the result of chemical bonding between 2 or more different elements.
difference between Amine and amide
Amadu Reply
what is the difference between alkanal and alkanone
difference between alkanol and alkanal
you are not well at all
is organic compounds used for drying agent
Olawale Reply
Sulfuric acid is used as a drying agent.
what is an atom
John Reply
An atom is the smallest part of an element, for instance gold atoms are the smallest part of gold that can enter a reaction. An atom must consist protons and electrons of equal number. You can think of those subatomic particles as spheres, but not orbiting randomly they move in specific way in
That was partially described mathematically. As a muslim, we believe that god created all matter from nothing. He is the Able, and only who can create matter in the begging in the big bang that was described in the Quran in chapter 17 verse 30, 1400 years ago, you can read it from internet.
what is electron affinity
do you have a private jet
what is acid
Olubodun Reply
Proton donor (H+). Like in lemons, oranges and some medicines.
what is titration? and how can i get my readings?
favor Reply
what is electrolysis?
favor Reply
what is the formula you use when calculating for gas law?
electro-means electricity while lysis-means splitting up so electrolysis simply means splitting up by means of electric current
good day. how may I see previous question asked in this chat, please?
Asha, A person named Favor asked what is meant by the term electrolysis
what is gad law
Shampoo Reply
what is a sample
Dorcas Reply
According to google, a speciemen taken for specific testing or analysis.
how would you carry out a qualitative analysis for two samples of salt suspected to contain chloride ion, bromide ion,iodide ion and carbonate ion
michael Reply
You can search google for test for these ions or test for anions ingeneral which will help you as it contauns videos too.
what is acid
why don't you just search for what is acid
This is a question you're being tested Abdelkarim stop being rude
an element x with electronic configurations as 2s²,2p²,3p6,combines with another element y with electronic configuration as 1s², 2p²,3p²,3p5,derive the chemical formula of the compound
Peace Reply
These electrongic configuration are entered wrong, any way, you can use an app called peridoic table 2021 that has advabced electric configuration in your studying. Use it to learn about patterns easier. And use it to solve problem: identify elements, then figure out bonding and ration for example:
The elemtents are H and S Then the formula is H2S.
an element x with electronic configurations as 2s²,2p²,3p6,combines with another element y with electronic configuration as 1s², 2p²,3p²,3p5,derive the chemical formula of the compound
Peace Reply
what is atomic number
It is the number of protons in the nucleus of an atom, which is unique for each element e.g only gold atoms have 79 protons in their nucleus.
the number present in proton in nucleus of an atom
Practice Key Terms 6

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Source:  OpenStax, Chemistry. OpenStax CNX. May 20, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11760/1.9
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