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How does a calorimeter work?


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2 C 200

 

The Entry - Class Calorimeter of the 21st Century

  Tired of the 1950’s Calorimeter technology?
Ask for our special University discounted price.
The unit combines manual operation for educational and partially automated operation for research purposes.
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2 C 2000

 

The Best Seller

  Engineered in Germany, designed for the highest possible ease of maintenance at an unbelievably low price. The automated and new standards setting instrument for the industry.
Works according to all commom Calorimeter ASTM Standards.
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2 C 5000

 

It's THE BOMB! The most versatile -

  Need to compare your results with other international Standards in the world?

Our C 5000 is the only automated Calorimeter that operates in all 3 major calorimeter measurement modes (adiabatic, isoperibolic
and dynamic) at an almost unbelivable preicision and accuracy.
 

How does a calorimeter work?

What is a Bomb- or Combustion Calorimeter?
A Bomb-Calorimeter is used to measure the heat created by a sample burned under an oxygen atmosphere in a closed vessel, which is surrounded by water, under controlled conditions.

The measurement result is called the Combustion-, Calorific- or BTU-value. The BTU value is more common in the USA.The result allows the user to make certain important quality, physiological, physical and chemical as well as financial conclusions and/or decisions on the product, for the company.

There are many different types of Calorimeters available on the market. You might have heard of Solution Calorimeter, Differential Scanning Calorimeter (DSC), Titration Calorimeter, Gas Calorimeter and Reaction Calorimeter for example.

IKA manufactures so called “Bomb-“ or “Combustion Calorimeter”. The term “Bomb” is misleading, but it is the most commonly used description of this kind of equipment. We will use the term “decomposition vessel” instead of bomb in this Guidebook.

About 1g of solid or liquid matter is weighed into a crucible, and placed inside a stainless steel container (the “Decomposition vessel”) filled with 30 bar (435 PSI) of oxygen (Quality: technical oxygen 99.98%). Than the sample is ignited through a cotton thread connected to an ignition wire inside the decomposition vessel and burned (combusted).

During the combustion the core temperature in the crucible can go up to 1000oC (1800 oF), and the pressure rises for milliseconds to approximately 200 bar (2900 PSI). All organic matter is burned under these conditions, and oxidized. Even inorganic matter will be oxidized to some extend.

The heat created during the burning process can be determined in different ways.

A vessel filled with water (inner vessel) surrounds the Decomposition vessel.
A vessel filled with water (inner vessel) surrounds the Decomposition vessel.
The heat created by the combustion process is transferred into the surrounding water.
combustion process is transferred into the surrounding water
To ensure that the heat created during the combustion does not get out of the system or heat gets into the system from the environment (room temperature changes), another water filled vessel (outer vessel) is used as an isolation.
water filled vessel (outer vessel) is used as an isolation
Many customers often ask for a specific kind of Calorimeter. You will hear and read terms like “adiabatic”, “isoperibol”, “isotherm”, “aneroid” and “dynamic”.These are different principles used to describe the working principles of the Calorimeter in terms of the temperature control between the inner- and outer vessel surrounding the decomposition vessel.

I just want to focus on the most common measurement principles “adiabatic”, “isoperibol” and “dynamic IKA”.
   
Isoperibol Calorimeter
In the USA and Canada 95% of all customers prefer to work with an isoperibol Calorimeter.

In an isoperibol Calorimeter the temperature in the outer vessel (Tov) is kept constant throughout the whole experiment.

The isolation by keeping the outer vessels temperature constant does not allow creating a “perfect isolation”. There are small temperature exchanges between inner and outer vessel. The influence from the environment (room) has to be kept small by using air-condition to keep the error as little as possible. A correction factor will be calculated after the experiment that takes these temperature exchanges in account.

 
   
Adiabatic Calorimeter

This Calorimeter measuring principle is used mainly in Europe and South America.

In an adiabatic Calorimeter the temperature in the outer vessel (Tov) follows the temperature of the inner vessel (Tiv) throughout the whole experiment.

The isolation is as close to a “perfect isolation” as possible. The influence from the environment (room) has to be kept very small by using air-condition to keep the error as little as possible. No correction calculations need to be done like in the isoperibol Calorimeter.

   
Dynamic IKA Calorimeter

This Calorimeter measuring procedure is not actually a principle. It is more precisely described a measurement-mode designed for customers that need to get results faster than the official Standards allow.

The dynamic modes are basically short versions of the original adiabatic and/or isoperibol measuring principles. The measurement results are still conforming to the required precision of the official standards.