I have conducted a calorimetry experiment on the latent fusion heat of ice. Even when the procedure is followed throughly, I keep getting a value that is far off from the actual value. And this continues even after the experiment is repeated, why?

1 Answer

Styrofoam coffee cup calorimeters allow heat to escape to the surroundings. This is more than likely your source of error, especially if you have repeated the procedure carefully. If your coffee cup calorimeter was open at the top, try placing a larger styrofoam cup upside down on top of the original coffee cup, so that the calorimeter is closed. First place a hole in the bottom of the top cup so you can insert the thermometer. You can also stack two coffee cups for more insulation. Place the larger cup on top of the bottom cup as quickly as you can to reduce heat loss.