I am going to investigate the heat combustion of 4 different alcohols, methanol, ethanol, butanol, and propanol. Alcohols belong to compounds of atoms based on chains of carbon atoms; these chains usually contain an oxygen atom, which is joined to a carbon atom by a singular bond, these bonds look like this C-OH.

My task is to investigate the burning of alcohols, or hydrocarbons. From the structure I can say that the alcohols will burn in oxygen to form carbon dioxide and water vapour. If the oxygen supply is reduced then different products could be produced, like carbon monoxide, soot and water vapour.

So in this experiment I will investigate the burning of four different alcohols, I will do this in terms of measuring the masses before and after they have been burnt.


I predict that the more chemical bonds there are, or the longer the chains of the molecules the more heat will be produced. Therefore it will take less time for the alcohol to heat a beaker of water, and so the alcohol will not loose as much weight.

So therefore I predict that Propanol will be the most efficient alcohol, because it has the highest number of chemical bonds, so more heat will be produced, I also think that methanol will be the least efficient alcohol to produce heat because it has the least number of chemical bonds. .

This is my list of alcohols, which I think will be the most and least efficient, starting with the most efficient:.







Clamp stand.


Electronic scales.


Water .

Beaker .

Spirit burner.



First of all I set up the apparatus as shown in the diagram above, then I went about weighing all of my spirits, which were in their spirit burners. I checked the scales for any other liquid or any other substances so that I wouldn't get any anomalous results. After I had weighed all of my spirits I burnt each one under a beaker with 100ml of water in and burnt each one until the temperature reached an increase of 16 degrees Celsius, so if the temperature of the water was 1 to start off with it would end up as 35.