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I'm doing a lab on what is the best material for a calorimetre. I chose glass, aluminum, styrofoam cup, paper/cardboard cup and a plastic cup. I've found that the cardboard cup was the best followed by the styrofoam cup. I thought at first it was related to the specific heat capacity of the calorimetre itself, as those values lined up with the results I got from my experiment.

However recently I've been wondering if the specific heat capacity would really have an effect on the exactitude of the results? Should I base myself more on the thermal conductivity values of the materials even though there doesn't seem to be a correlation between those values and those I got from my experiment?

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  • $\begingroup$ Of course it does, which is why you characterize it by running calibrations using the empty containers. $\endgroup$ – Jon Custer Mar 5 '18 at 23:22
  • $\begingroup$ Ok thanks. For my experiment I repeated the same exothermic reaction so as to be able to calculate the error percentage between my experimental values and the theoretical values. I tried running calibrations with hot and cold water but my data didn't really make any sense and so wasn't of any use as the data was all over the place. As for the specific heat capacity, would a lower heat capacity, for example with the cardboard mean that more heat would be dissipated to the calorimetre instead of remaining in the solution? $\endgroup$ – Cyril O'Brien Mar 5 '18 at 23:27

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