CALORIMETRY: The measurement of the heat energy produced or absorbed in a chemical reaction.The words ‘caloric’ and ‘calorie’ are associated with energy or heat. Calorimetry is the experimental technique used to measure the heat energy associated with a chemical reaction. The precise technique used depends upon the complexity of the reaction to be studied. For aqueous reactions, we use a simple calorimeter and for more complex reactions – especially those involving combustion or reactions involving gases – it is necessary to use a more sophisticated apparatus known as a “bomb” calorimeter. However, the principle underlying the apparatus is the same in both cases.The calorimeter and its contents (heating element, stirrer and temperature probe) when housed in an insulated container, constitutes a closed system. It does not interact with the surrounding environment and we assume no heat transfer takes place between the calorimeter and its surroundings.
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