Specific heat of a metal


background [prelab assignment (20 points); due at the beginning of the lab]

which metal, copper or aluminum, at the same mass and temperature would have the largest increase in the temperature of water upon the addition of the metal to a container of water ?  support your answer using mathematics.

design an experiment to confirm your answer

sketch a data table for your experimental measurements.

calculate the number of grams of water, where the addition of 50.0 g of copper at 100. °C would change the temperature of water by 5.0 °C; assume that the initial temperature of the water is 20.0 °C?


experimentally determine the specific heat of a metal

fulfill various aspects of the NGSS science & engineering standards.


solid metal cylinder

~ 50 mL water; pair of styroform cups; beaker; temperature probe; balance

hot plate

methods / data analysis

student design


Content of lab report  [25 points; no lab report revisions]

results  [10 points]

data table

calculate the specific heat of metal based on your experimental data

discussion  [10 points]

describe the relationship between the final temperature (in a system with a hot metal added to water at room temperature) as a function of the specific heat of a metal; justify / rationalize your response using mathematics.

describe / list two NGSS science & engineering practices that correlates to an aspect of this laboratory activity; provide an example in the lab & this lab report that meets these practices


lab activity source:  Which is your metal ?  pp. 316 - 317; in:  World of Chemistry.  Zumdahl et al.  2002.

rationale (for nerds) of how changing the mass of water affects the ΔT  of the water

CAS (read primer on commands) & example commands (ex1, ex2)