Calorimetry: Using a bomb calorimeter

Apply the technique of bomb calorimetry to help solve the challenge of storing renewable energy. Learn about the first law of thermodynamics, enthalpy, and internal energy.

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  • Description
  • Features

This short, targeted simulation is adapted from the full-length “Basic Chemistry Thermodynamics” simulation.

Energy is one of the great subject matters of our time, but what is energy actually? In this simulation you will learn about the thermodynamic concept enthalpy and the first law of thermodynamics. You will also determine the internal energy of a chemical compound by using bomb calorimetry, and you’ll even travel inside the calorimeter to see it in action.

The challenge of storing energy

What is the best way to store energy? There is no simple answer, but in this simulation, you will be encouraged to give it some thought while learning about the very nature of energy and how it connects to chemical reactions. You will assess whether the gasoline component octane is a suitable chemical for energy storage by using a bomb calorimeter.

The fundamental concepts of thermodynamics

The first law of thermodynamics and the concept of enthalpy are introduced in this simulation. You will have access to a state-of-the-art bomb calorimeter. Travel inside to see the calorimeter to see it in action and understand how it works. From here, the concept of chemical bond energy is linked to the thermodynamic calculations of enthalpy on the calorimeter output. Discuss the total heat capacity, enthalpy, and internal energy of octane. Compare the energy densities of various fuels to discover the best fuel for energy storage.

Combine theory and practice

Throughout the simulation you will combine the fundamental teachings of thermodynamics with the experimental results from the calorimeter. Will you be able to suggest a solution for the energy storage challenge?

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Apply the technique of bomb calorimetry to help solve the challenge of storing renewable energy. Learn about the first law of thermodynamics, enthalpy, and internal energy.

Techniques in lab
Calorimetry
Learning objectives

At the end of this simulation, you will be able to...

  • Understand the basic steps and critical points of performing a calorimetry experiment
  • Define the thermodynamics concept of enthalpy and its units
  • Explain the first law of thermodynamics
  • Understand the relationship between internal energy and enthalpy
Simulation features

Length: 15
Accessibility mode: Available
Languages: English (United States)

NGSS

HS-PS3-1, HS-PS3-2, HS-PS3-3, HS-PS3-4, HS-PS2-1, HS-PS2-2, PS3.B-H2

IB

Chemistry 5.1 Measuring energy changes

AP

Chemistry 6.4 Heat capacity and calorimetry