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Melting Ice Lab

Keywords: Energy and Entropy, Integrated Laboratory, Entropy, Conservation of Energy, Heat Capacity, Small Group Activity


Highlights of the activity

  1. This integrated laboratory activity is designed to help students understand heat capacity and entropy change during an irreversible process.
  2. Students mix ice with water in an insulated container and predict the final state of the system and its change in entropy.
  3. The wrap-up discussion addresses sources of experimental error and difficulties students encountered while making their calculations.

Reasons to spend class time on the activity

Students will have a chance to work out in groups how to deal with “system” and “surroundings” in a more complicated situation where ice is turning into liquid water. It's an insulated system, so energy conservation comes up. It also gives students a chance to gain understanding of heat capacity and the enthalpy of fusion (or latent heat).


Instructor's Guide

Student Handouts



Authors: David Roundy
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