So we have actually all heard the calories, right? They space a measurement nearly everyone uses to identify how healthy a food article is. What exactly is a calorie though? check out that and how girlfriend can find the calories of your favorite foods right in ~ home. Store watching to discover more.

You are watching: Soda can calorimeter


Materials come CollectEmpty soda canGlass pole (or something else that will not burn)Ring stand (or something to suspend the soda can)ThermometerLarge document clipAluminum foilFood samplesMatches or lighterA fire-safe place and safety tools (tongs, available water, etc.)

Build it!Pour 50 mL the water into the soda can.Bend her paperclip and also place your food sample ~ above the finish so that is freestanding. The food sample should be 2-3 grams (make certain you weigh and also record the starting weight). Place the paperclip and also food sample top top a item of aluminum foil to protect your surface ar from burned or burnt food.Suspend your soda can about 4 cm above the food sample.Insert the thermometer into the soda can opening and record the beginning temperature that the water.Light the food sample on fire. Together it is burning, tenderness stir the water in the soda have the right to using the thermometer and keep and eye ~ above the temperature. Once the food sample has actually stopped burning, record the greatest temperature that the water reached. Then sweet the remaining food and also record the weight. 

Data Table
Mass the water50 g
Starting load of food (g)
Starting water temperature (℃)
Ending water temperature (℃)
Ending load of food (g)

Calculations Subtract the finishing weight of food indigenous the beginning weight the food to determine just how much food in reality burned. Subtract the ending water temperature from the starting water temperature come determine exactly how much the water temperature changed. Multiply your readjust in water temperature (what you established during #2) by 50 g (the load of water we started with). This provides you the quantity of power that was released by the food and absorbed by the water, or the calories! Now divide the number of calories you obtained by 1,000 (1 food calorie = 1,000 power unit calories).You now recognize how plenty of calories were in the quantity of food that burned! to compare this come the nutritional label (you might have to change for a different food weight on the nutritional label). What is the Science? 

We eat food to provide us energy. A calorie is a unit of energy – it speak us exactly how much energy is stored in any type of given food. The means scientists number out how numerous calories room in a food is by measure the energy that can be released. They do this using a calorimeter. This is a clinical tool the measures power by utilizing water to absorb the power released by a burn food sample. The amount of energy soaked up by the water deserve to be measured, and also this speak us exactly how much energy the food released!

 Ask her Young ScientistsWhat foods can contain more calories? Which could contain less?Can girlfriend think of times as soon as it felt like eating food offered you energy?What food need to we shot next?Why is it important for us to eat food?

This content was made feasible in component by the academy of Museum and also Library Services.


Aoife Ryle is a STEM educator at the Connecticut science Center. In addition to functioning with college groups, she works through our teenager Program, Overnights department, and also shoots weekly scientific research segments for WFSB. She has a degree in Bioengineering indigenous the college of Maine and has a personal interest in the life sciences and also engineering which makes bioengineering a perfect crossover.

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Mark Dixon is a meteorologist top top WFSB Channel 3 Eyewitness News and also a hold of the weekly science Sunday segments with the Connecticut science Center. He has actually been nominated for several Emmy awards because that weather anchoring and has won awards native the Connecticut associated Press Broadcaster’s Association and also the American Meteorological society.