5 March 2003
.This is one of my favorite labs at Miramar. The students set up an apparatus consisting of a soda can on a ring stand, with a cover on top and a thermometer inserted through the cover into the can. Beneath the can is a rubber stopper holding a paper clip that has been shaped into a little platform. The platform is used to hold a peanut, cashew, or walnut, which they ignite and allow to burn to completion. The temperature change of the water and the difference in the mass of the nut and that of the burned residue allows them to determine the heat (Calorie) content of the nut. You'd be surprised how hot 200 ml of water can get when it's heated with a single peanut.