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. Therefore, if heat energy is created in the calorimeter – either by electrical energy being admitted through an electrical
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This note was uploaded on 05/23/2011 for the course CHEMISTRY 1020 taught by Professor Zein during the Spring '09 term at Harvard.