Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Fossil Fuels

Figure from experiment 30 from Earth Science with Vernier


More than 80% of the world’s total energy comes from the burning of fossil fuels. Coal, natural gas, and petroleum (which includes oil and gasoline) are all used extensively throughout the world. The energy content of a fossil fuel is an important property. 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 units of joules per gram (J/g).

In this experiment, you will determine the energy content of a fuel by burning an amount of the fuel and capturing the heat released in a known mass of water. You will use a Temperature Probe to measure the initial and final temperatures of the water, then calculate the energy released.


In this experiment, you will

  • Use a Temperature Probe to measure the temperature of water.
  • Use a balance.
  • Determine the energy content of fuels.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

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 Earth Science with Vernier »

Earth Science with Vernier

See other experiments from the lab book.

1Introduction to Data Collection
2Exploring Magnetism
3Where IS North?
4Searching for Iron Ore
5Sea Floor Spreading
6Soil pH
7Soil Salinity
8Soil and Acid Rain
9Soil Temperature
13Total Dissolved Solids
14Water Treatment
15Salinity of Ocean Water
16Acid Rain and Its Effect on Surface Water
17Freezing of Ocean Water
19Mapping the Ocean Floor
20Are All Sunglasses Created Equal?
21Comparing Sunscreens
22UV Light and Clothing
23Reflection and Absorption of Light
24The Greenhouse Effect
25Land and Sea Breezes
26Relative Humidity
27Dew Point
28Wind Chill
29Seasons and Angle of Insolation
30Fossil Fuels
31Solar Homes
32Photovoltaic Cells
33Wind Power
P1Air Temperature
P2Air Temperature and Relative Humidity
P3Ground Temperature
P4Barometric Pressure
P5Measuring Particulates
P6Weather Stations

Experiment 30 from Earth Science with Vernier Lab Book

<em>Earth 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.

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