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For this assignment, you will demonstrate what you have learned about the properties of water by designing and conducting an experiment that examines one of water’s properties. First review this example of an experiment designed to investigate waters specific heat.

Lab Report Text Version


You will be designing your own laboratory experiment to examine one of the properties of water. You will start by stating a problem, or question, that you intend to investigate.

Let’s use the investigation of specific heat that we saw in the lesson as our example.

First, state the problem or question that you will be investigating at the beginning of your lab report.

How does the specific heat of water differ from other substances?


You may need to conduct some research to narrow down your investigation and form a hypothesis. You should include your research and background information from the lesson in your lap report introduction. All source should be cited as shown in this write-up.


Try using googlescholar.com for primary sources of information. Do not use Wikipedia as it is not a reliable source.)

Water hydrogen bonds to itself and these bonds have to be broken in order for water molecules to escape from the surface of the body of water (Eisenberg, 1969).

Eisenberg, D., Kauzmann, W. 1969. The structure and properties of water. Oxford Univ. Press, New York.

Oil is a lower quality vegetable oil, and has a very high boiling point (Aksoy, 2007).

Olive oil is being looked at as a possible alternative fuel in our other countries (Aksoy, 2007).

Aksoy, A., Kahraman, I., Karasmanoglu, F., and Civelekoglu, H. 2007.

Evaluation of Turkish sulphur olive oil as an alternative diesel fuel. Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society, 65(6): 936-938.

The alcohol propylene has a very low viscosity, and also has a very low boiling point (Luft).

I think most alcohols will have the same properties. Luft, J.H. 1961.

Improvements in epoxy resin embedding methods. The Journal of biophysical and biochemical cytology, 9(2): 409-414.

Specific heat is the amount of energy it takes to raise a certain amount a degree Celsius (Campbell, 2008)

Campbell, N., and Reece, J. Biology, Advanced Placement, 8th edition. Pearson, Benjamin Cummins.


A hypothesis should be logical, and testable. It should be in the “if … then … ” form including the independent and dependent variables.

Procedures should be clear and presented step by step. The controls, independent, and dependent variables should all be labeled in your report. The procedure should be designed to keep controlled variables constant, vary the independent variable, and measure the dependent variable. Be sure that the procedures are detailed enough for others to follow.


If water has the highest specific heat, then it will require the most energy to heat from room temperature (25 degrees Celsius) to 60 degrees Celsius.


Independent Variable (IV)—substance, Dependent Variable (DV)—the time it takes each substance to reach 60°C Control-Water

First I placed 1 cup of each substance in a pan. Each of the three pans is exactly the same. I placed each pan on a separate burner on the stove and let the pans sit until each of them was at room temperate (25°C). I then turned on the heat to high on each. I recorded the time it took each substance to reach 60°C. Everything was kept the same except the substances, and so this was a controlled experiment.


All observations should be included. Use all of your senses when thinking about what observations should be recorded. Note that taste is not usually a sense used in the science lab experiments. Consult your instructor and guardian before consuming and substance used in your labs.

Include tables, graphs, or diagrams as needed. The title, axes, and key of the graphs and tables should all be labeled. The graph’s x-axis should represent the independent variable and the y-axis the dependent variable. Units and scaling are also very important when graphing your data.


The oil is thicker than the other substances. The oil heated up the fastest, then the alcohol, and finally the water.


Use tables and graphs to record your data.


Conclusions should relate back to your hypothesis, but should also extensively analyze the data. It often identifies inferences and predictions that can be made based on the results. In this lab report, you should also discuss the real-world applications of this property of water. Ask yourself where you would see these objectives and ideas in your life every day!


Water does have the highest specific heat. Oil did heat up the fastest, then the alcohol, and then the water. It takes more energy to heat up the water than the other substances.


Knowing specific heat can help with insulation of houses, wiring for appliances, etc., and can also help farmers with crops by spraying with water when a freeze is coming.

Show Interactive

Now it is your turn. Be sure to design an experiment that you can conduct with materials you have on hand or that you can acquire easily. You will need to complete the experiment, recording observations and data. You will submit your assignment in a lab report.

Sample topics to experiment with include:

  1. What affect will adding sugar have on the viscosity of water?
  2. How do different materials affect capillary action?
  3. How does adding salt affect the freezing point of water?
  4. How does temperature change affect water’s cohesion?
  5. How does temperature change affect surface tension? 
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