Specific Heat Capacity of ball bearings

The aim of this experiment is to measure the Specific Heat Capacity of ball bearings and to state what material is the ball bearings made of.


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We can predict and assume that the Specific Heat Capacity of ball bearings is high such an assumption was made because it is known that metals have a high Specific Heat Capacity, because the balls are made from a metal we can assume that the Specific Heat Capacity is high. The color of the metal and the density of the metal balls bearing give the impression that it is made from copper.


1. Ball bearings

2. Thermometer

3. Water

4. Beaker

5. Calorimeter

6. Bunsen burner

7. Platform balance

8. hot plate


1. Measure the temperature of the water using a laboratory thermometer at room temperature, and record the temperature.

2. Measure the mass of ball bearings and calorimeter and record.

3. Connect the balls using a string so as to make them move using the string so there will be no need in touching them.

4. Add water into the calorimeter at room temperature.

5. Add sufficient water into a beaker and place the ball bearings in it and then boil the water to 98�C.

6. Leave the ball bearings for about approximately two to three minutes.

7. Using the string remove the ball bearings quickly from the boiling water to the calorimeter.

8. Measure the new temperature in the calorimeter.

Obtained Results

Mass of calorimeter = 0.0978 Kg

Mass of ball bearings = 0.1556 Kg

Mass of water = 0.2117 Kg

Initial Temperature of water at room temperature (Ti) = 11�C

Final temperature after the ball bearings were placed (Tf) = 15�C


Energy lost by the balls = Energy gained by water + energy gained by calorimeter

MbCb ( Tf – Ti) = MwCw ( Tf – Ti ) + McCc ( Tf – Ti )

0.1556 X Cb (16-82) = 0.20117 X 4200 (15-11) + 0.0978 X 900 (15-11)

0.1556 X Cb ( – 66 ) = 0.20117 X 4200 X (5) + 0.0978 X 900 X ( 5)

-10.2696 Cb = 3379.656 + 352.08

Cb – 10.2696 = 3731.736

Cb = 3731.736 = 363.37 J kg-1 oC


We can notice that the specific heat capacity of copper is 385 J kg-1 oC, and comparing this with the obtained result it is noticed that the difference between the theoretical and the obtained answer is only 16.77 J kg-1 oC. The obtained result which we calculated is 363.37 J kg-1 oC which is the closest to the Specific Heat Capacity of copper, which means that what I have predicted in the hypothesis is right because the Specific Heat Capacity of Copper is high which is 385 J kg-1 oC. This means that the assumptions made in the hypothesis is right.


Sources of Error


Energy is lost to the environment which gave a difference in the obtained results.

The calorimeter should be insulated so as to minimize the energy lost to the environment so as to get better results.

When the ball bearings were put into hot water, they were left there for a while so the temp. could have dropped from 82oC

Using metal cylinders with holes so that the temperature of the ball could be measured separately

Systematic error caused by the balance, the balance was reading 0.1 g without putting any weight on the platform.

The experimenter should reset the platform balance and then measure, this will give a more accurate results.

The thermometer was placed in the water without being stirred which means that the temperature is going to be different, because the experimenter holding the thermometer is going to increase the temperature, this will affect the results.

The experimenter should stir the thermometer as to make sure that the temperature read on the thermometer is the room temperature, and place the thermometer in water, this will make the obtained results more accurate.

Parallax error, the experimenter might look at the thermometer with an angle, in this case the temperature might be different this could affect the results.

The experimenter should look at the thermometer at a right angle so as to minimize the error in reading the temperature from the thermometer.