The efficacy of bioethanol fuel
The materials required for this science fair project:
- 200ml of bioethanol (biofuel)
- 200ml of kerosene
- 200ml of diesel
- 200ml of gasoline
- 1 lighter
- Old newspapers
- 4 beakers
- 4 test tubes
- 1 test tube stand and holder
- 200ml of water
- 1 measuring cylinder
- 1 stopwatch
- 1 thermal mat
- 1 thermometer
1. For this science fair project, the independent variable is the type of fuel used – bioethanol, kerosene, diesel and gasoline. The dependent variables are the temperature rise of the water in the test tube, as well as the burning time of the fuel. This is determined by measuring the temperature of the water using a thermometer and measuring the burning time with a stopwatch. The constants (control variables) are the amount of water used, the amount of fuel used and the distance of the test tube containing the water from the burning fuel in the beaker.
2. Using the measuring cylinder, measure and pour 200ml of bioethanol, kerosene, diesel and gasoline into each beaker. Label each beaker for its contents.
3. Measure and pour 50ml of water into a test tube. Set up the test tube in a stand and holder, as shown below in Figure 1. Insert a thermometer into the test tube and record the starting temperature of the water.
4. Place the beaker containing bioethanol on a thermal mat under the test tube, as shown below in Figure 1.
5. Using rolled-up old newspaper and a lighter, ignite the bioethanol fuel and start the stopwatch immediately. Record the time taken for the fuel to burn out, as well as the highest temperature reached by the water, in a table as shown below.
6. Repeat steps 3, 4, 5 and 6, substituting the bioethanol with kerosene, diesel and gasoline. Ensure that the distance between the bottom of the test tube and the center of the beaker remains constant for all 4 times the testing is performed.
Take great care when lighting flammable liquids. Conduct experiment in the presence of a qualified adult supervisor. Keep a fire extinguisher on standby, and perform the experiment in a laboratory.