ALTERNATIVE TRANSPORTATION FUELS LAB

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1 ALTERNATIVE TRANSPORTATION FUELS LAB

2 Purpose: To examine the energy content of various alternative fuels which could be used for powering our vehicles in the future. As gasoline becomes increasingly expensive, alternatives will need to be employed to keep the transportation system moving. During this lab, you will be asking: How does the energy content of alternative fuels compare to that of gasoline s 11,530 calories per gram?

3 Vocabulary calorie = the energy required to raise one milliliter of water one degree Celsius Calorie = one thousand calories (kilocalorie); often referred to as the Big Calorie or food calorie Torch Fuel Vegetable oil corn, canola & soybean Ethanol (ethyl alcohol) Methanol (methyl alcohol) Isopropyl alcohol (70% vs. 91%)

4 Procedure 1. Take one of the two types of fuel that your group will be testing (7 fuels will be tested by the class). Remove the cap (if it is still on) and then determine the mass of the entire alcohol burner with its fuel (without the cap of course) Write down the mass in grams in your data collection chart. 2. Take a 500ml beaker and fill it up approximately four-fifths of the way. Add three or four ice cubes and then use the stirring rod to swirl the water-ice mixture so the temperature of the water goes down quickly. Your goal should be to get the water temperature down to between 5 and 10 degrees Celsius.

5 3. Using a graduated cylinder, carefully measure out 300ml of the cooled water and poor it into the aluminum can. 4. Put the aluminum can with water on the ring stand. 5. Take the alcohol burner with the fuel that you are about to test and place it directly under the aluminum can. 6. Stick the thermometer into the opening in the aluminum can and carefully measure the temperature of the water. Write down the temperature to the nearest tenth of a degree Celsius in your data chart.

6 7. Light your fuel burner, adjust it so that the top of the flame is 1 cm below the bottom of the can and centered in the middle, and then immediately start your timing. (Note: Do not pull the wick out too far; in most cases, just a few millimeters of wick needs to be extended out of the neck of the burner, this is especially true with torch fuel where an extended wick can cause and enormous flame). 8. Heat your water for exactly 5 minutes. 9. After exactly 5 minutes, blow out the flame, and measure the temperature of the water by sticking the thermometer back into the can and stirring gently stirring to circulate the water and distribute the heat evenly. Record the temperature and record it in your data chart.

7 10. Measure the mass of the burner (without the cap on) again so that you will be able to determine the amount of fuel that was used during the five minutes of heating. 11. Carefully remove the aluminum can (grab the top of the can not the bottom so that you do not accidentally burn yourself) and pour the heated water down the drain. 12. Now repeat this procedure for the other fuel that you are testing. 13. Once you have collected all your data we will share your results with the class and then it is time to do your calculations and data analysis.

8 Fuel Type Final Temp Initial Temp Temp Increase Data X 300 ml Total Calorie Initial Mass Final Mass Mass of Fuel Calories / gram CORN OIL 300 CANOLA OIL SOYBEAN OIL 91% ISOPROPYL METHYL ALCOHOL ETHYL ALCOHOL TORCH FUEL

9 Calculating calories per gram Total calories / Grams of fuel used X Correction factor = calories per gram Outdoor correction factor = 2.5 (assuming a 60% energy loss) Indoor correction factor = 1.7 (assuming a 33% energy loss) calories per gram X Density = calories per milliliter calories per gram/1000 = kilocalories = Calories = Food Calorie

10 1. Which of the fuels that you analyzed can be considered fossil fuels? 2. Which fuel contained the most energy per gram? 3. Which fuel contained the least energy per gram? 4. Which fuel contained the most energy per milliliter? 5. Which fuel contained the least energy per milliliter? 6. Which fuels put out the greatest amount of carbon particulates? 7. Which fuels put out the least amount of carbon particulates? 8. Why do you think some fuels put out a large amount of carbon particulates while other fuels did not? 9. Think about torch fuel and ethanol (ethyl alcohol). Please compare these two fuels. What are the advantages and disadvantages of using each of these two fuels to power transportation vehicles? 10. Why is it important to know the number of calories per gram of a fuel? 11. Why is it important to know the number of calories per milliliter of a fuel?

11 12. Of all the possible alternatives to gasoline, including natural gas, electricity, hydrogen fuel cells, as well as all the fuels that we have studied in this lab, please pick just one fuel and make an argument why it is the most promising fuel of the future. Make sure to include both the positive aspects of the fuel you choose as well as some of its negative aspects. 13. Please identify three ways in which energy was lost and not accounted for during the running of this lab. 14. In step two you were asked to cool the water down using ice cubes. What is the advantage of cooling the water down before heating it up? 15. In step three you were asked to put 300ml of cooled water into the aluminum can. Why where you asked to use 300ml of water instead of 200ml or 50ml? 16. When you heated the water, why were you asked to heat it for 5 minutes instead of 1 minute or 10 minutes? 17. Please identify three sources of error (other than energy loss) that may have occurred during the lab that could have affected your results. 18. Did your overall results make sense, or where there some anomalies (an anomaly is anything that does not fit an expected pattern) that you did not expect? If you had some anomalies, why do you think that they occurred? 19. In some cases, the oil fuels (motor oil, vegetable oil) will start out with a normal size flame which then diminishes during the burn time and sometimes goes out completely. Why do the burners with oil have a tough time maintaining a regular sized flame?

12 Conclusion Please write a summary paragraph that distills the essential information that you learned from conduction this lab.

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