Find the specific heat of a given solid

Class 10 Science Activity

Experiment Name:

To find the specific heat of a given solid.

Required Equipment And Material:

  • Calorimeter
  • Thermometer
  • Stirrer
  • Water
  • Steam heater
  • Wooden box
  • Lead shots

Experiment Procedure And Steps:

  • Estimate the quantity and mass of the calorimeter along with stirrer. The bulk of the calorimeter that is mass, m1 = ……………………
  • Now fill one-third of the volume of calorimeter with water. Estimate its mass and its temperature. Mass of the calorimeter plus water, m2 = ……………..
  • Mass of the water, m2 –m1 =
  • The temperature of water in the calorimeter, T1 = ………..
  • Get a few lead shots and put them in hot water or steam heater. Boil them up to a temperature 100 degrees C. Let this temperature be T2.
  • Transport the hot lead shots immediately into the calorimeter (with least loss of heat). You will see that the mixture descends to a certain temperature after some time.
  • Estimate this temperature T3 and mass of the calorimeter along with contents (water and lead shots).
  • Mass of the calorimeter along with contents, m3 = ………
  • Mass of the lead shots, m3 – m2 = …………
  • Since there is no loss of heat to surroundings, we can assume that the entire heat lost by the solid (lead shots) is transferred to the calorimeter and water to reach the final temperature.
  • Let the specific heats of the calorimeter, lead shots and water be Sc, Sl, and Sw

Special Precautions:

Make sure to calculate the masses accurately otherwise, you won’t get the desired outcome.

Also, make sure to conduct the experiment under the guidance of your lab instructor.

What Was Learnt:

According to the method of mixtures, we know; Heat lost by the solid = Heat gain by the calorimeter + Heat gain by the water

(m3 – m2 )Sl (T2 -T3 ) = m1 Sc (T3 -T1 )+(m2 -m1 ) Sw(T3 -T1 )


            [m1 Sc +(m2 -m1 )Sw] (T3 -T1 )

Sl = ––––––––––––––––––––––––

            (m3 -m2 )(T2 -T3 )


Knowing the specific heats of calorimeter and water, we can calculate the specific heat of the solid (lead shots).

Is this experiment Doable at home? (Yes/No): 

No, this experiment cannot be done at home. Hence, you only can conduct this in a laboratory.

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