Vernier Software and Technology - Celebrating 35 years
Vernier Software & Technology

Energy Content of Fuels

Figure from experiment 9 from Physical Science with Vernier


Energy content is an important property of fuels. This property helps scientists and engineers determine the usefulness of a fuel. Energy content is the amount of heat produced by the burning of 1 gram of a substance, and is measured in joules per gram (J/g).

You can determine energy content of a fuel by burning an amount of the fuel and capturing the heat released in a known mass of water in a calorimeter. If you measure the initial and final temperatures, the energy released can be calculated using the equation

H = \vartriangle t \cdot m \cdot C_p

where H = heat energy absorbed (in J), Δt = change in temperature (in °C), m = mass (in g), and Cp = specific heat capacity (4.18 J/g°C for water). Dividing the resulting energy value by grams of food burned gives the energy content (in J/g).


In this experiment, you will

  • Measure temperature.
  • Analyze data.
  • Use a balance.
  • Determine energy content.
  • Compare the energy content of different fuels.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

Option 1

Option 2

Additional Requirements

You may also need an interface and software for data collection. What do I need for data collection?

Standards Correlations

See all standards correlations for Physical Science with Vernier »

Experiment 9 from Physical Science with Vernier Lab Book

<em>Physical Science with Vernier</em> book cover

Included in the Lab Book

Vernier lab books include word-processing files of the student instructions, essential teacher information, suggested answers, sample data and graphs, and more.

Buy the Book

Go to top