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Calorimetry in Chemistry

Upper School chemistry students are studying the properties of heat and energy in a unit on calorimetry. “We recently discovered how a process called calorimetry can allow us to calculate the amount of heat transferred between two substances, allowing us to calculate variables and properties of an unknown, such as its specific heat,” said Upper School chemistry teacher Kylene Utah. “Students performed a lab where they determined the specific heat of two substances of their choice and compared these experimental values to the theoretical, established values.” Utah said remote students also performed the lab at home, using a collection of pennies and equipment Utah sent them at an earlier date. “Our remote students worked in their kitchen to experimentally determine the specific heat of copper or zinc, depending on the pennies they used, and compared this to the theoretical value,” said Utah. Utah said the study of heat transfer is practical to students because it is a concept they use every day, such as heat from the stove being transferred to water in a pot and the use of coffee mugs to stop heat from transferring out of a system, to name a few.