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Faculty Mentors

Dr. Kenneth C. McGill

Abstract

The adiabatic bomb calorimeter has been an effective tool in facilitating heat transfer between molecules via combustion reaction. Heat is released from the substance combusted and transferred into another, usually water. The heat transferred is measured and the enthalpy of combustion determined for the combusted material. One such classic experiment is the determination of combustion enthalpy of sucrose, obtaining the calorimeter constant with benzoic acid. The results of an adiabatic combustion experiment can be taken one step further to determine the combustion enthalpy in kcal/g by a simple conversion calculation. Since food nutrition labels report calories per grams of serving (note: 1 food calorie" 1 kcal), food can be combusted in an adiabatic bomb calorimeter and the results compared to its corresponding nutrition label. The food chosen for this experiment consisted of marshmallows and cheddar cheese.

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