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University of the Philippines

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Koshneir Jimenez 2010-04190 M1

Amount of Energy in a Fuel Sample by using a

Calorimeter Bomb
Abstract
The energy content of fuels is needed to be known to
properly determine the type of mechanism to harness
the energy to be given out. One such way of
determining the energy content of a fuel is by using a
calorimeter bomb. A fuel sample is allowed to combust
inside a chamber surrounded by fluid, in the case of
the experiment, water. The rise of the temperature of
the water is recorded and from the known properties of
the water, the heat transferred into the water is
obtained which is equal to the heat given out by the
fuel combustion. The experiments fuel sample has a
calorific value closest to that of diesel.

Introduction
A huge fraction of the energy used in
everyday life comes from non-renewable
sources. These non-renewable sources are
mostly coal, natural gas, gasoline, diesel,
and other fuels that utilize combustion to
produce energy. Through combustion, the
stored energy is released into huge
amounts of heat and pressure where, for
the case of external engines, the heat is
transferred into a fluid medium. Then, fluid
energy and the movement obtained is
then harnessed by turbines in steam
power plant or steam engines. For,
internal
combustion
engines,
the
combustion of the fuel mentioned is
directly harnessed by moving cylinders
inside the engine. Therefore, there is no
need for fluid medium to transfer the
energy.
A measurement of the energy content of
the fuel sample is a necessary information
to accurately make the dynamics of an
engine or the power plant. Knowing the

energy content enables a working

engineer to know the acceleration and the
forces involved in the engine and a better
mechanism and materials may be then
used. To obtain the energy content of the
sample, a calorimeter bomb is almost
always employed especially for student
laboratories. The calorimeter bomb uses
the concept of the energy equation:

Q=mC T (1)
Where:

Q=the energy transferred

m=is themass of the substance
C=Heat capacity of the substance
T =is the change of temperatureof the substance
Where in the fuel is allowed to combust
and the heat released is transferred to the
medium surrounding the bomb. The
temperature rise will then be obtained,

and knowing the heat capacity of the

medium, the energy transferred could be
obtained. The calorimeter bombs set-up is
composed of a bomb, a container of the
combustion of the fuel, and a medium to
absorb the heat, most likely water.

insertion of
the
fuse
wire,
and
weighs the
capsule
before and
after
the
There will be a substantial amount of Heat
fuel
is
injected.
ignition
and
after
the
maximum
Inject 0.75g
temperature is achieved. These heat
0.85g of
transfers could be corrected by using the
fuel.
Dickinson method by obtaining the
Carefully,
temperature b, sixth tenth of the
put
the
difference
between
the
maximum
capsule
to
temperature and temperature before
its position in the hanger, avoid spilling
ignition. Then:
the contents of the capsule. Insert the
fuse wire into the capsule touching the
temp .at 7 mintem
fuel( time
but not
the capsule.
1ml of water
Corrected ignition temperature=Temp before ignition+
of btotal
time before
)
7 min
inside the bomb. Insert the hanger inside
the bomb and close the lid tightly. Close
the Oxygen release valve and
the
max fill
temperaturetemp
at t
Corrected maximumtemperature =Temp maximum+bomb
( time atwith
max oxygen
temptime
up oftob ) 30kpsi
gauge.
difference between maxtemp m
Inspect the bomb for any leaks by
submerging it into the pail with 2 liters of
Calculations to obtain the total heat
water to its right place. The bubbles from
transfer will be based according to this
the bomb should cease to appear. If it is
corrected temperatures. A schematic
not so, release the oxygen and redo all of
diagram of the set-up is shown in Figure 1.
the previous procedures and seal the
bomb tightly. After checking for leakages,
Methodology:
connect the terminals to the bomb, place
Clean all of the parts of the set-up the
the lid of the calorimeter with the fan and
bomb, pail, cup, and the calorimeter,
the thermometers attached and start
thoroughly and dry it carefully. Measure 2
measuring
the
temperature.
Start
liters of water in the graduated cylinder
measuring from time, min 0. Record the
and pour it into the pail. Put the pail inside
temperature every minute until min.7.
the calorimeter according to its right
Close the fuse by pressing the button then
placement indicated by the marks at the
measure the temperature every 12
bottom of the pail. Put some transparent
seconds until the tenth minute. From the
tape on top of the capsule, and cut a slit
10th minute up to the 24th minute record
through the tape using a blade for the
the time every minute.

T0:00
25.212
T1:00
25.211
T2:00
25.210
T3:00
25.209
T4:00
25.208
T5:00
25.207
T6:00
25.207
T7:00
25.206

T7:12 25.274 T11:00

C
C
T7:24 25.556 T12:00
C
C
C
T7:36 26.203 T13:00
C
C
C
T7:48 26.791 T14:00
C
C
C
T8:00 27.044 T15:00
C
C
C
T8:12 27.274 T16:00
C
C
C
T8:24 27.558 T17:00
C
C
C
T8:36 27.697 T18:00
C
C
C
T8:48 27.865 T19:00
ignition
C
C
T9:00 27.964 T20:00
C
C
T9:12 28.061 T21:00
C
C
T9:24 28.123 T22:00
C
C
Mass of capsule
12.5927
g
T9:36with
28.190
T23:00
tape :
C
C
T9:48 28.239 T24:00
C with 13.32 gC
Mass of capsule
T10:00
tape plus sample
: 28.277
C

28.394

Mass of fuse wire

before :
after :
Oxygen Pressure :
Amount of water
Table 1. List of Data

28.440
28.456
28.459
28.456
28.450
28.443
28.435
28.427
28.419
28.411
28.403

Figure 1. Schematic
Diagram of the set-up
Results and Discussion

28.396
28.387

0.0238 g
0.0096 g
30 atm
2 liters/ 2 000 grams

Shown in table 1, is the list of the data to be used for the computation of the energy per gram of the
fuel sample. Table 2 shows the recorded temperature versus time of the set-up. Table 2 will be used to
obtain the corrected final temperature and corrected ignition temperature.

Table 2. Recorded Time

Computations:

1
btem =25.206 + ( 28.45925.206 ) =25.748
6
btime=

14 min7 min
( 25.748 28.459 )+14 min=8.166 min
28.459 25.206

25.20 625.212
=25.205
7

28.387 28.456
=28.418
10

Corrected Temperature Difference=28.41825.205=3.213 C

Heating Value=

( 2000+432 ) g

1400 cal
(3.213) )( 0.0238.0096 ) g(
)
( 1cal
)
gC
g
cal
=10 ,716.54
=44,838 kj/kg
0.7273 g

The nearest caloric value of the obtained amount is of the diesel fuel with 44,800 kj/kg.
Conclusion:
The obtained Heating value is closest to diesel with only minimal difference.
Calorimeter device is a perfect device to obtain the heating value of the sample because the
insulation of the device is of high value enabling little or no heat transfer to the environment
making the calculation very accurate. Error from the experiment could be traced back to
weighing error of the samples and lack of enough drying of the sample.
Bibliography:
(1) No Author.(No Date) from http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/fuels-higher-calorificvalues-d_169.html obtained on Feb 11, 2013
(2) No Author.(No Date) Image taken from
http://chemistry.umeche.maine.edu/~amar/spring2011/bomb.html on Feb 11,2013