For my most recent lab, the goal was to find the specific heat of lead metal shot. The procedure of the experiment consisted of using the method of mixtures. In this procedure, the room temperature(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); T_{r}is first measured. Then, an insulated calorimeter cup is filled with water, and the temperature of the waterT_{w}is measured. Meanwhile, lead metal shot is placed in a cup, which in turn is placed in boiling water until the temperature of the metal shotT_{m}reaches about 100 degrees Celsius depending on the calibration of the thermometer. Once the temperature of the metal shot reaches its high point near 100 degrees Celsius, the temperature is recorded and the metal shot is poured into the water. The metal shot then releases heat which is absorbed by the water until the mixture reaches thermal equilibrium and this final temperatureT_{f}is measured.

The formula for specific heat is:

Q = c m dT

Q = heat released or absorbed

c = specific heat

m = mass

dT = change in temperature

With this procedure, once the metal is poured into the calorimeter the following occurs:

heat lost = heat gained

Q_{metal shot}= Q_{water}+ Q_{calorimeter}

The final equation that was used to determine the specific heat of the metal shot was:

m_{m}c_{m}(T_{m}-T_{f}) = (m_{w}c_{w}+ m_{c}c_{c})(T_{f}T_{w})

m_{m}= mass of metal shot

c_{m}= specific heat of metal shot

T_{m}= temperature of heated metal shot

T_{f}= final temperature after metal shot was poured into the calorimeter with water

m_{w}= mass of water

c_{w}= specific heat of water

m_{c}= mass of calorimeter cup

c_{c}= specific heat of calorimeter cup

T_{w}= temperature of water before the metal shot is poured into it

It is stated in the lab procedure that the final temperature T_{f}should be above room temperature T_{r}by about as many degrees as T_{w}was below it such that T_{f}- T_{r}= T_{r}- T_{w}. If this is approximately the case, the best results will be achieved.

After all this, can someone tell me why satisfying the above scenario will provide the best results? Thanks in advance.

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# Specific heat lab question

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