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What is a Calorimeter?

10/31/2013 4:09:10 PM | by Anonymous

Calorimeters

Have you ever wondered how people measure how much calories there are in your food? This is done through the use of a calorimeter. However, in order to understand how a calorimeter works, it is important to understand the study and process of calorimetry first.


Calorimetry is a chemical process that measures the release or absorption of energy. Most of the times, the energy is heat energy. The scientists may need to know this information to carry out further research on their studies. Calorimetry aims to find out how much heat is released or absorbed by recording the temperatures and different time points, usually before and after. The scientists take the difference in temperature and use that information to determine how much energy was released or absorbed.


Calorimetry is often used in food applications. Many manufacturers state the calorie content on the packaging of food items. Some manufactures may also show the joules content of a certain type of food but that is less common. A calorie is a type of unit measurement that measures the amount of heat that is needed to increase to temperature of water. One gram of pure water is used as a standard. Most of the times the calories shown on packages are kilo calories, which are basically 1000 calories.


One of the most important applications of measuring calories is in the health industry. The energy and heat that are created by food with high calorie contents should use the energy efficiently. If these calories or energy are not used efficiently, they will be translated into fat that will be stored on the body to be consumed later. This is how junk food, or any food that is high in calories make people fat. This is why it is important to carry out the process of measuring calories. It is to ensure that the average consumer is able to plan their diet and be aware of the amount of calories going into their body. This helps people avoid problems such as obesity or heart disease.


In order to measure this difference in heat, a calorimeter is used. The word calor is Latin for heat, which is where the name calorimeter and calorimetry is derived from. Most people have the understanding that calories are related to weight loss and weight gain. It is much more complicated than that though. A calorimeter measures the amount of calories present in a subject by identifying and determining the production or loss of heat energy. The calorimeter then translates the collected data into readable information that can be used to determine the difference in heat energy or temperature. Therefore, calorimeters are measurement of heat energy that is expended or generated.

 

There are different types of calorimeters that measure the production and absorption of heat. Some examples of calorimeters are accelerated rate calorimeters and isothermal calorimeters. These calorimeters are used to measure calories one way or another in varying environments. Sometimes, calorimeters may introduce a liquid substance to measure the change in temperature. Other calorimeters are used to measure the difference in temperature of the weather in a controlled environment. These calorimeters are often found in labs as they are precise tools that help simplify the concept of calories.


Thus calorimetry and calorimeters has become an important tool that redefines the way people work, live and eat. By being aware of the amount of calories present in a food substance helps consumers make many health decisions. This proves that the study of calorimetry is extremely important and should not be taken lightly. This is why calorimeters are built with such precision and accuracy to ensure that the calories you see on your food package are true and will be useful to all consumers.

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