Chem 3 - Energy Calculations - Comparing the Energy produced by Fuels

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Comparing the Energy produced by Fuels

When we burn a fuel we use an exothermic reaction as a source of Energy. This may be to keep ourselves warm, or it may be to get ourselves or things we want from one place to another.

Not all fuels produce the same amount of Energy when they burn - some reactions are more exothermic than others. It is often very important to know how much Energy a fuel produces when it burns. Measurements like this are carried out under carefully controlled conditions, in an instrument called a bomb calorimeter.

In a school chemistry lab it is very difficult to measure accurately the Energy produced by fuels when they burn. But when we can use simple methods to compare the Energy produced by different fuels

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Comparing the Energy produced by Fuels 2

The amount of Energy in food is measured in exactly the same way. There are data tables that we use to work out which food to eat if we are on a diet. They are drawn up by burning the foods in a bomb calorimeter and measuring the Energy produced. Measurements like this show how different types of food produce very different amounts of Energy when they react with Oxygen.

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