Oxidation and specific heat capacity

• Marcin H
In summary, the question asks if oxidation would change the specific heat of a metal. It is unclear what the question is asking for, so it is hard to provide a clear answer. It is possible that the metal's mass would change, but it is also possible that the metal's specific heat capacity would change.
Marcin H

Homework Statement

If a metal is highly susceptible to oxidation, what effect might this have on calculating the quantity of heat transferred to a metal? Use specific examples.

Q=mcΔT

The Attempt at a Solution

Would oxidation change the specific heat of the metal? Since you are adding one electron aren't you changing the material and therefore changing the specific heat? I haven't had chemistry in a while, so I'm not sure how oxidation would have an effect my calculations. Example would be iron and rust. Would the mass also change? or just the specific heat capacity?

I believe that In the case of iron and rust, the mass would change because the oxidation of iron includes the formation of iron oxides which have more mass than iron by itself. Because iron oxides also have different specific heat capacities, I would assume that would change as well. In both situations however, with increased mass and at least in the case of iron rusting, increased specific heat capacity, the Q value is going to increase as well.

The question is pretty ambiguous. If the only thing that you observe is a change of the temperature of the heated (cooled) "metal" (an I use quotes, as once it is partially oxidized it is no longer a metal, but a mixture of a metal and an oxide), then yes - fact that it gets oxidized can be a source of an error. But if you measure somehow amount of heat supplied (say, by using a resistive heating element and controlling V/A) fact that the metal got oxidized doesn't matter - unless this time you want to think about "metal" as in "whatever the original sample was minus oxides created in the meantime".

Yes, this is nitpicking, but apparently question want you to delve into nitpicking details, so it should be precise. Otherwise you need mind reading to find out what the question author was really thinking.

1. What is oxidation?

Oxidation is a chemical reaction in which an atom, molecule, or ion loses electrons and becomes positively charged. This process is also known as oxidation-reduction or redox reaction.

2. How does oxidation affect materials?

Oxidation can cause materials to deteriorate, weaken, or lose their original properties. For example, metals can rust and organic materials can spoil due to oxidation.

3. What is specific heat capacity?

Specific heat capacity is the amount of heat energy required to raise the temperature of one unit of mass of a substance by one degree Celsius. It is a measure of a material's ability to store thermal energy.

4. How does specific heat capacity relate to oxidation?

Oxidation can affect the specific heat capacity of a material. For example, when a metal oxidizes, it may form a layer of oxide on its surface which can change the material's thermal properties and alter its specific heat capacity.

5. How can oxidation and specific heat capacity be measured or calculated?

Oxidation can be measured through techniques such as electrochemical methods or weight gain/loss measurements. Specific heat capacity can be calculated using the formula Q = mcΔT, where Q is the heat energy, m is the mass of the substance, c is the specific heat capacity, and ΔT is the change in temperature.

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