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1 Ethanol: Answer, or Question? If a fuel has a higher energy rating on Sat Aug 02, 2014 9:24 am

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Comparison of energy content (Btu) of ethanol with that of gasoline and diesel.


Purpose

If a fuel has a higher energy rating, the engine becomes more powerful and efficient. In this experiment, I wanted to know if ethanol had a higher Btu or energy content than gasoline and diesel today’s conventional fuels. If a fuel has a higher energy rating, the engine becomes more powerful and efficient.
Hypothesis

I hypothesized that ethanol would have the highest Btu, and that gasoline and diesel would have comparable Btu levels. I based my hypothesis on a recent study about ethanol in Race Cars where, Race Cars were 90% more powerful when running on ethanol, than gasoline.
Materials used
Photo: Materials & Model used in Experiment 2.
(Photo taken by Aseem Sharma , March 2007)

14cm cotton wicks
3 aluminum bowls
Gasoline, diesel and E95
Steel rods
Matches
Candle
Measuring containers
Test tubes
Steel bowls
Instant read thermometer
16 ounces of water per trial
 
Variables

Independent variable: type of fuel
Dependent variable: Btu content
Constants: bowls, steel rods, amount of fuel, amount of water used, wick length
 Procedure

  1. Cut cotton rope into 14cm pieces.

  2. Place steel rods on top of aluminum bowl.

  3. Fill steel bowl with 16 ounces of water, then set on top of rods.

  4. Soak 14cm wick in 5ml of fuel in a test tube.

  5. Take the initial temperature of the water.

  6. Set soaked wick in aluminum bowl, then light on fire.

  7. After the fire has died out take the after temperature of the water.

  8. Find the difference between the initial and after temperatures of the water to calculate the Btu.

  9. Conduct a total of six trials per fuel to produce accurate results.

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