Why Is Water Good to Use in a Calorimeter?

Calorimeters are used to measure the heat capacity of different substances.
••• glass beakers image by Mark Aplet from Fotolia.com

A calorimeter is a scientific device used to measure changes in heat during chemical reactions and the heat capacity of different substances. It is derived from the Latin word “calore” meaning “heat.” Water is best to use in a calorimeter because it has a high specific heat, however, other liquids such as ethanol can also be used. However, for practical reasons such as water's ability to be easily measured as well as its affordability, it is considered to be the best choice.

High Specific Heat

Water has a high specific heat, which means it is difficult to increase the temperature of water. However, water also has the capacity to retain heat, which allows the other substance inside the calorimeter to absorb that heat.

Measurement

As a result of its high specific heat, water can absorb a great deal of heat while remaining in the liquid phase. This means that you can still measure the temperature using a standard thermometer. If a substance reached excessive temperatures, then you would need to use an expensive thermometer to measure it.

Cost

Water is a cheap and easily accessible substance with a high specific heat making it perfect for use in a calorimeter.

Definition

By definition a calorie is the amount of energy it requires to raise the temperature of a gram of water by one degree Celsius. Therefore water is a vital tool in calorie measurement.

Related Articles

How to Calculate Heat of Sublimation
How to Increase the Density of Water
Brine Vs. Conductivity
How to Calculate the Amount of Heat Transferred
How to Convert Milligrams to Fluid Ounces
What Color Would a Tester PH Paper Turn if Is Dipped...
How to Find the Molar Heat of a Combustion Candle
How to Convert Joules to Kelvin
How to Calculate Heat Absorbed by the Solution
How to Calculate Temperature From BTU
What Happens When Ice Is Added to Hot Water and How...
How Is Salinity Calculated?
Why Does Water Melt Ice?
How to Convert Celsius to Fahrenheit for 5th Grade
How to Make Bromine Water in the Chemistry Lab
What Is the Equation for Finding Initial Temperature?
How to Calculate BTU for Heat
How to Calculate Water Levels in a Tank
How to Calculate Relative Accuracy
How to Convert Specific Conductivity to Salinity

Dont Go!

We Have More Great Sciencing Articles!