What Is The Purpose Of The Coffee Cup In A Coffee Cup Calorimetry Experiment?

Last Updated on May 10, 2021 by Paul E Nicholson

You could be wondering if we are in a physics or chemistry class. Worry not; in fact, we need science to understand this subject better. But what is Calorimetry?  It is a science used to determine the change of energy of a system by calculation the heat exchange with the surroundings. A calorimeter refers to the instrument that measures the quantity of heat that is transferred from and to an object. what is the purpose of the coffee cup in a coffee cup calorimetry experiment? is filled with water and then used to measure the heat.

The simple equipment is used to calculate the heat as water will change its temperature when it gains or loses energy. By using a formula the heat gained by water is the same as that which has been transferred and on the loss, the same rule applies.

What Is The Purpose Of The Coffee Cup In A Coffee Cup Calorimetry Experiment?

The formula for coffee cup calorimetry

The coffee cup calorimeter has the coffee cup, thermometer, water with a reactant place in the cup. A coffee calorimeter is generally used for solution-based chemistry that requires very minimal or no change.  So the heat is equal as the enthalpy changes which will equal the internal heat change. Below is the formula that is used.

Q = mwater•Cwater•ΔTwater

T is the change of heat.

M is the amount of heat

Q is the heat in joules

M refers to the mass of water in grams

The principle of calorimetry assumes that there is no or limited loss of heat by surrounding the heat lost through the hot boy equal to the heat gained by the cold body.

Why the coffee cup?

The cup insulates the experiment as it minimizes the loss of heat to the environment.  Since the heat is transferred from the surrounding, it goes negative. Therefore, the cup is used to hold water intact giving no room for any loss. So, the experiment requires the Styrofoam of the cup to be the catalyst for the transfer of heat. It is safe when you compare it with the glass breaker and it ensures that all heat that is transferred is kept within the glass thereby great and more accurate results.

Two coffee cups are used in the experiment for two main reasons. The first one is that in case there is a puncture then it could hold the water until the experiment is over by stabilizing the calorimeter. Secondly, it helps to ensure there is no temperature change of water when experimenting. The idea is that the coffee cup rare does lose the heat of the coffee thereby ensuring your coffee experience is awesome.

The question of whether the cup can be used at higher temperatures is relative. Since the cup is prone to melting at a higher temperature, it, therefore, means that it will not be much effective. One will need to ensure that they know the highest heat that can be applied on a specific coffee cup to avoid such inconveniences.

Reader also ask

What is the role of the coffee cup in a coffee cup calorimeter?

The coffee cup is known to keep the heat for a long time and therefore it helps to secure this heat so that it can be measured into the accuracy required.

What is coffee cup calorimetry?

It is a constant pressure calorimeter that is used to measure the heat that is transferred from one object to another or chemical changes after a reaction.

Why did you use two coffee cups during the experiment instead of just one cup?

Using two coffee cups, first ensures that in the event one breaks the other will help hold the liquid. Moreover, it acts like double insulation hence better results. Furthermore, the two cups ensure that there is stability during the experiment.

What is the main difference between a coffee cup calorimeter and a bomb calorimeter?

The coffee cup calorimeter cannot be used on high-temperature reactions since it could cause the cup to melt. A bomb calorimeter on the other hand can be used for a high temperature.

A bomb calorimeter is used to measure the heat flow of the gases which is unlikely to measure using the coffee cup calorimeter.

Are coffee cup calorimeters accurate?

Of all the cups available, the coffee cups have been proven to be the best in terms of accuracy. Studies have shown it is 94% accurate at the required temperature.

Why are Styrofoam cups used as calorimeters?

The work of the Styrofoam cups ensures that not heat is exchanged between the water in the cup and the air. It creates an adiabatic wall that prevents any heat loss.

How do you solve coffee cup calorimetry problems?

Ensure that all procedures are done well. The use of the two cups will give better results.

Why do you put a lid on the Styrofoam cup?

The lid that is put on the coffee cup minimizes the heat that is lost to the surrounding air. The lid must be put in a way that does not allow any air into the cup.

What is the main difference between a coffee cup calorimeter and a bomb calorimeter

Final verdict

This is the end of this matter. We have always known that the coffee cup has one single function. Just drinking coffee! Indeed the cup of coffee is very much resourceful even in the lab. The cup is used to quickly and easily make a calorimeter for constant pressure. This is unlikely when dealing with bomb calorimeter which can be used to measure low temperature to high as well. For the reaction to happen the coffee cup isolates any heat loss. To make the experiment more successful, the cup is covered with Styrofoam to make it more insulating.

Even as the experiment continues it is important to understand that high temperatures will affect the experiment outcome and the lid must cover the cup leaving no space. What about the heat capacity? The heat capacity in the coffee cup calorimeter is translated to that of the water in the calorimeter. You are now more educated on this issue.

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