Which Kind of Trash, When Burned, Creates the Most Heat? Researched by Jena J. 2000-01

PURPOSE

The purpose of this experiment was to determine which kind of trash, when burned, creates the most heat.

I became interested in this idea when I read an article on the Internet about some places, like Los Angeles, that burn trash to create electricity.

The information gained from this experiment may be used to get rid of certain trashes in a useful and safe manner.

HYPOTHESIS

My hypothesis is that cardboard paper will burn more thoroughly and produce the most heat of all the trash used.

I base my hypothesis on experience from watching my dad burn cardboard boxes.

EXPERIMENT DESIGN

The constants in this study were:

• Colorimeter
• Oxygen tank
• Pellet device
• Bucket
• Thermometer
• Amount of water
• Amount of oxygen
The manipulated variable was the kind of trash burned.

The responding variable was the amount of heat that was created from the trash in an oxygen-bomb calorimeter.

To measure the responding variable I found the increase in water temperature inside the calorimeter in degrees Celsius and used that to calculate kilo joules per gram.

MATERIALS

 QUANTITY ITEM DESCRIPTION 20 ml. of water per test 1 atomic bomb calorimeter 1 gram of selected trash per experiment 1 pack of calorimeter wire 1 thermometer 1 pellet shaping device 1 oxygen tank

PROCEDURES

Building the Pellet:
1. Measure one gram of material.
2. Put material inside pellet shaping device.
3. Smash material to form pellet.

Setting Up:
4. Weigh wire and pellet.
5. Record Data.
6. Thread wire through loopholes and push down holders to secure.
7. Lay pellet on top of wire.
8. Test the ability of the wire to hold the pellet throughout the burning process.
9. Put landing bucket in place, underneath pellet and wire.
10. Carefully lift bomb lid and place firmly on top of bomb.
11. Securely fasten bomb lid to bomb with ring.

Venting the bomb:
It is necessary to ensure a proper atmosphere of pure oxygen inside the bomb.
12. Vent bomb of air.
13. Hook oxygen tube to bomb.
14. Turn on oxygen tank.
15. Fill bomb with 20 atmospheres (psi) of oxygen.
16. Vent bomb to two to three psi.
17. Repeat steps 15 and 16 three times.
18. Fill bomb with exactly 20 psi.
19. Vent oxygen out of tube by pressing the tube release valve.
20. Disconnect the tube from the bomb.
21. Turn off oxygen tank.

Performing the Experiment:
22. Put bucket into calorimeter according to imprints.
23. Measure exactly 2000 ml of water into a container.
24. Place bomb inside of bucket according to imprints.
25. Hook ignition wires into bomb.
26. Slowly pour water into bucket (to avoid splash).
27. Lift calorimeter lid gently and place on top of calorimeter.
28. Hook rubber ring to ignition box to turn on propeller (The propeller circulates the water to get a more accurate temperature reading).
29. Check thermometer and record beginning temperature.
30. Press the black button on the ignition pad until the red light blinks (This ignites the wire to burn the pellet).
31. Check and record the temperature every thirty seconds until the temperature stays the same for three consecutive readings.
32. Remove calorimeter lid.
33. Disconnect ignition wires.
34. Remove bomb from bucket.
35. Vent bomb.
36. Open bomb.
37. Gather and weigh excess wire and excess pellet (if any).
38. Perform calculations to determine kilo joules per gram produced.

RESULTS

The original purpose of this experiment was to determine which kinds of trash, when burned, created the most heat.  The results of the experiment were that cardboard created the most heat of all the kinds of trash burned. Pizza created the least amount of heat. Office paper was second best.

CONCLUSION

My hypothesis was that cardboard paper would burn more thoroughly and produce the most heat of all the trash used.  The results indicate that this hypothesis should be accepted because cardboard created the most heat of all the trash burned.

These findings should be useful to all people.  Because of the results of this experiment, I wonder if I would have combined all the trash into one pellet, if it would have created more heat than any of my results of this experiment.  If I were to conduct this project again I would have conducted more trials and used a larger variety of trash.