Although the aluminum can and the wood chip were ere close together, there was still a large amount of heat loss to the surroundings. This resulted in a lower temperature reading, which in turn reduced our AT value. Thus reducing our overall enthalpy of combustion and is one of the reasons why the theoretical value does not fall within our experimental range. A way we could possibly reduce this error is to alter the apparatus and let as little air escape as possible which would keep energy losses to a minimum while maintaining a stable environment for the wood chip to combustion.
Ideally we could have the apparatus inside a glass chamber with a hole for the temperature probe and a hole to light the Another source of error we must take into a count was the improper use of the temperature probe. Instead of letting the probe sit freely in the aluminum can producing an accurate measurement; we let the probe sink to the bottom of the can where it would record a higher temperature due to the hot spot in the water. This has an impact on our experimental value and would be a reason why our experimental value is higher than the theoretical one.
This is not the case due to the act that heat loss reduces the amount of energy gained by a substantial amount compared to how much is gained from a rise in temperature. We could have simply eliminated this error by keeping the probe suspended in the water and giving it a stir every once in a while in order to reach uniform temperature in the can. A couple of minor errors I noticed were the fact that we used a graduated cylinder to measure our amount of water. Then we poured that water into our aluminum can but we weren't able to pour every ounce of water out of the cylinder.
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Thus affecting our mass in our mica formula for water and having an overall negative affect on our enthalpy value. Another minor thing was that as I noted in my qualitative data I incomplete combustion since soot (or otherwise known as impure carbon particles) is one of the products from that reaction. In this type of reaction less energy is released, thus dropping our enthalpy of combustion value to even further below our theoretical value. In order to fix these minor errors we can fill our can directly from the tap as well as have a greater supply of clean oxygen for the reaction to occur.
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