The temperature of 500 ml of water in a beaker was measured before a warm heater connected to power supply was dipped in the beaker. After 10 minutes of heating and constant stirring of water, the power supply was switched off, and water temperature measured. The same procedure was repeated for a period of 15 minutes. The results were recorded in table 1.
The temperature of aluminium block was recorded before a heater connected to a power supply was used to heat the block for a period of 8 minutes. The above procedure was repeated using Copper block and the results were recorded in table 2.
The experimental specific heat capacity of water was 4785 JKg-1 oC-1 while the literature value was 4187 JKg-1 oC-1. Therefore, the percentage error for water was calculated using the formula: % Error= |Experimental value-Theoretical value| ×100
The specific heat capacity of water determined in this experiment had a numerical value of 4785 ± 263 JKg-1 oC-1 while that of aluminium and copper were 1278 and 545 JKg-1 oC-1, respectively. The standard (literature) specific heat capacities of water, aluminium and copper are 4187, 900 and 386 JKg-1 oC-1, respectively (Table of specific heats). The obtained values were more than the literature values. The anomalies observed between these values were probably due to random errors in the experimental procedures e.g. the loss of heat to the surrounding and the presence of impurities in the water hence leading to an increase in the boiling points. Systematic errors could be due to the weights of the metal blocks and temperature readings as well as fluctuations in pressure. In future experiments, loss of energy to the surroundings could be avoided by using more energy to heat the water for it to attain the required temperature. In addition, water with higher levels of purity can be used in the experiments so that the effect of impurities on