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21. Latent Heat and Specific Heat of Water

Structured (S)

Ice at temperature Tice and mass mice is added to hot water of temperature Twater and mass mwater.
The ice is allowed to completely melt and establish thermal equilibrium with the water.
Measure the equilibrium temperature between two substances
Determine the latent heat of fusion of water
Using the specific heat of water, determine the energy needed to change the temperature of
water to a known T.

Materials and Equipment

For each student or group:
Data collection system

Balance, (1 per class), 1200-g capacity

Temperature sensor

Hot plate


Distilled water, 200 mL

Beakers (2), glass, 400-mL

Ice, 200 mL

Hot pads

The specific heat capacity of a substance is the energy (heat, Q) required to change the
temperature of 1 kg of that substance by 1 C. The latent heat of fusion is the energy needed to
change the phase (solid to liquid or liquid to solid) of 1 kg of a substance. In order for any
substance to change phase its temperature must be at the melting or boiling point of that
substance. For example, water will not freeze until its temperature drops to 0 C.
Further, it will take twice the energy to change the temperature by 1 C or completely melt a 2 kg
substance. How fast the temperature changes or how fast it changes phase depends on how fast
the heat is transferred to or from the substance and is better known as power. When combining
two or more substances at different temperatures, the lower temperature substance will gain
heat and the higher temperature substance will lose heat. By the conservation of energy, the
heat lost will equal to the heat gain.

Relevant Equations

Q mcT


Latent Heat and Specific Heat of Water

Q mL f



t t


Qgain Qlost


Where m is the mass of the substance, T is the temperature of the substance, c is the specific
heat of the substance, and Lf is the latent heat of fusion of the substance.
When determining the latent heat of fusion Lf for water, the heat lost by the hot water will equal
the amount of heat necessary to melt the ice and then bring the melted ice water to a thermal
equilibrium temperature for that system.

mwater cwater (T f Twaterinitial ) mice L f mice cwater (T f Ticeinitial )

Where Lf is the latent heat of fusion of water, cwater is the heat capacity of water, and Tf is the final
equilibrium temperature of the water + melted ice combination.

Add these important safety precautions to your normal laboratory procedures:

Do not touch the heating surface while heating the water.

Wear a heat-resistant glove when handling hot objects.
Keep paper, plastic, and other materials from making direct contact with the hot plate.

After you complete a step (or answer a question), place a check mark in the box () next to that step.
Note: When you see the symbol "" with a superscripted number following a step, refer to the numbered Tech
Tips listed in the Tech Tips appendix that corresponds to your PASCO data collection system. There you will find
detailed technical instructions for performing that step. Your teacher will provide you with a copy of the
instructions for these operations.

Set Up
1. Connect the temperature sensor to the data collection system.
2. Display temperature data in a digits display
system to monitor live data. (6.1)


then configure the data collection

3. Assemble the calorimeter cup as instructed by your teacher.



Student Worksheet (S)

4. Turn on the hot plate and set it to its highest setting.
5. Fill one 400 mL beaker with about 200 mL of distilled water and place it on the hot plate.
6. Fill the other 400 mL beaker with about 200 mL of ice.
Note: Fill the beaker with ice only.

7. Place the temperature sensor into the beaker of water and wait for the temperature
reading to stabilize.
8. Monitor the temperature of the water until it reaches between 90 C and 95 C. When the
water is hot enough, switch off the hot plate.

Collect Data Melting the Ice

9. Remove the temperature sensor from the beaker of hot water and place it in the beaker of
ice, stirring constantly. When the temperature reading stabilizes, record the initial
temperature of the ice in Table 1.
10. Measure the mass of the empty calorimeter cup and record the value here.
mcup =
11. Using hot pads, pour the hot water from the beaker into the calorimeter cup and measure
the mass of the cup + water combination, then calculate the mass of the water by
subtracting the mass of the cup and record the result here and in Table 1:
mcup+water =

mwater = mcup+water mcup

12. Place the temperature probe into the calorimeter cup filled with hot water and wait for
the temperature reading to stabilize.
13. When the temperature has stabilized, record the initial temperature of the water in
Table 1, then drain the water from the beaker of ice and add the ice to the calorimeter
14. Cover the cup, and stir the mixture until the ice melts completely.
15. When the ice has completely melted and the temperature has stabilized, record the final
temperature of the water-ice mixture in Table 1.

Latent Heat and Specific Heat of Water

16. Measure and record the mass of the calorimeter cup + water + ice(melted) combination
here, then use this value to calculate the mass of ice. Record the result here and in
Table 1.
mcup+water+ice =

mice = mcup+water+ice mwater mcup =

Table 1: Water-ice data


Mass (kg)


Temperature (C)

Final Temperature (C)

(water-ice mixture)


Analysis Questions
1. Calculate the energy (heat) lost by the water using your data (specific heat of
water = 4,186 J/(kgC)).

2. Which substance (ice or water) had a greater temperature change and why?
3. Use your data to determine the latent heat of fusion Lf of water?

4. If the accepted value for the latent heat of fusion of water is 3.33x105 J/kg,

calculate the percent error between the accepted and your experimental value for
latent heat of fusion.


Student Worksheet (S)

5. List some possible factors that could account for the error between the values?

Synthesis Questions
Use available resources to help you answer the following questions.

1. How would the equilibrium temperature in this experiment be affected if the mass
of ice added to the hot water was doubled? Justify your answer.

2. What results would you expect if this experiment was done using water at room
temperature instead of hot water?
3. If the power rating for a heating plate is 1,200 W, what is the minimum time needed
to change the temperature of 0.185 kg of water from 30.5C to 100.0 C?

Multiple Choice Questions

Select the best answer or completion to each of the questions or incomplete statements below.

1. A 5 kW heating device is used to heat water from 15 C to 100 C. How long will it
take to heat a 10 L tank of water?

Latent Heat and Specific Heat of Water

A. 12 min
B. 710 min
C. 1.2 min
D. 14 min
E. 16 min


Student Worksheet (S)

2. Equal masses of water and lead are initially in thermal equilibrium. If water has a

higher specific heat capacity than lead, and, the same amount of heat is added to each,
which of the following statement is true?
A. Water is now at a higher temperature than lead.
B. They remain in thermal equilibrium.
C. Lead is now at a higher temperature than water.
D. The water gets cooler and the lead gets warmer.
E. Not enough information given to determine the answer.
3. What is the heat Q needed in converting a mass m of ice at 5 C to water at 100 C?

Q mcice (0 C (5 C)) mL f mcwater (100 C 0 C)


Q mcice (100 C ( 5 C))


Q mcice (100 C ( 5 C)) mL f


Q mL f mcwater (100 C 0 C)


Q mcice mL f mcwater