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Re: [Phys-l] good specific heat materials

On 01/03/2010 10:17 AM, Brian Blais wrote:

I want to cover the topic of specific heat, and latent heat, with my
students in a lab setting. Are there any good, cheap, and available
materials that anyone has used and would recommend? Water is the
obvious standard, but perhaps anti-freeze, or some other materials
would be interesting as well.

Water is for sure on the good list, but it should be
mentioned that water is highly anomalous. There are
lots of things that make a nice contrast with water,
have a phase transition at a convenient temperature,
are cheap, and are not too obnoxious to deal with,
-- paraffin
-- glycerin
-- stearic acid

Gadolinium is great fun, because of the heat capacity
spike due to the Curie point (near room temperature).
The effect is big enough for not-very-skilled students
to observe with crude apparatus. More advanced students
(undergrad physics majors) can measure it much more
accurately, compare to theory, et cetera.