CHM 1025C


Experiment 3




            (1)       To learn to manipulate laboratory instruments to measure length, mass, volume, count, and time.


            (2)       To introduce the relationship of the metric units to English units.


            (3)       To learn the difference between precision and accuracy.


            (4)       To learn to calculate a deviation and a per cent error in experimentation.




In our everyday world we are faced with many measurements.  For each measurement there must be a UNIT of measure.  Some are simple, some are very complicated.  After 12 years of schooling most students know how a mile gallon, pound, foot, inch, yard quart and ounce relate to everyday life.  There are all measures of the ENGLISH system of measurement, which system is not used in England but only in America.  (Actually it should be called the American system of measurement.)


Have you heard of a CALORIE?  KILOWATT-HOUR?  On your JEA bill electricity is measured in kilowatt-hours, water in cubic feet. What does 55 miles/hour really mean.  Pollution is measured in Parts per Million (ppm) or Parts per Billion (ppb).  These are multiple dimension measures.


THERE ARE 5 CLASSIFICATIONS OF SINGLE (SIMPLE) DIMENSION UNITS.  They are:  LENGTH            MASS        COUNT           TIME                   VOLUME (length cubed)

All other measures are combinations of these simple dimensions. 


Speed or Velocity is length per time;



(Two Dimensions)   


Text Box:






Acceleration is change in velocity per unit of time:

(Three Dimensions)



                             Text Box:

Force is mass times acceleration:


                                                     Text Box:    (FOUR DIMENSIONS)

Work is force times distance moved:


                                                    Text Box:        (FIVE DIMENSIONS)


Power is work per time:  


                                                 Text Box:            (SIX DIMENSIONS)

In freshman chemistry, students seldom advance beyond one or two dimension measures.  Some of the two dimension measures to be calculated in later lab experiments are: Density, % Recovered, Molecular Mass, Mole Ratio, Gram Molar Volume Constant,  % Purity, Molarity, Molality,  % by Mass,  and Normality (no longer used).






You will work with a lab partner only on this part of the lab.

1.         Obtain  a two meter stick from the equipment cart of two one meter sticks.  Tape a sheet of paper to the wall.  Mark your height on the piece of paper. 


2.         Measure your height in inches and in centimeters (each person) using either two meter sticks or the special two meter stick.  Record the data using at least 3 significant digits.


3.         Calculate the number of centimeters in one inch by dividing your height in centimeters by your height in inches.



                              Text Box:    or 1.00 in. = 2.59 cm.

4.         The True Value is 1.0000 in. = 2.5400 cm (exact).  Find the difference between the true value and your experimental value.  This is called the deviation.


            Example:    Experimental value        2.59  cm/in

                                True value                         -2.54 cm/in


                                Deviation                              .05 cm/in


5.                  Calculate your percent error using the formula:


                             % Error =

                                                Text Box:




 Example:                    % Error =

                                                           Text Box:  = 2 %


6.         Now measure your height in centimeters and inches using only a one meter stick.  (You will have to move the stick to make the measure; this may introduce error.)


7.         Again calculate the number of centimeters in one inch, the deviation from the true value, and the % error.




8.         Obtain an object of unknown volume from the lab cart (Block of wood, metal bar, or your textbook.  (Record the number of this object, if labeled or description).


9.         Measure the length, width, and height of the object to the nearest  0.1cm and to the nearest 0.125 inch (one eighth) or 0.0625 inch (one sixteenth) using a ruler.


10.       Record the data and calculate the volume using the formula (both cm3 and in3):


Text Box:


            Volume = length x width x height. V =  _______ cm3    = ________ in3


          The correct value is 16.48 cm3 = 1.000 in3




In the laboratory we use several devices to measure mass.  They are called balances.  For large masses we use triple beam balances.  Below are two sets of directions for the two main types of triple beam balances.

Thought question: Why are they called triple beams?



                Image of Triple Beam Balance

            A.        With the pan empty, adjust all weights to zero.  Be certain all weights are in the zero groove.


            B.        Use the damper button to bring the pointer to a steady position.  Depress the damper.  If the POINTER is not on the center line, adjust the ADJUSTMENT Screw until the pointer is centered on the middle line.


            C.        Load the balance.


            D.        Move the 100 gram weights until the pointer drops below the center line.  You have set 100 too many grams.  Move the 100 gram weight back one position.  If the object exceeds 500, hang the weights in the hole outside the end of the POINTER, reset to zero and start again.


            E.        Repeat step D with the 10 gram weights.


            F.         Slide the gram weight until the POINTER is centered.


            G.        Read the weight to the nearest 1/10 gram.



3.         Use an object such as your car keys to calculate the number of grams in one ounce by first using a triple beam balance and some balance that will record masses in ounces. If there is no device, skip this part of the experiment.


           Mass of Object =   __________g (triple beam)


           Mass of Object =  __________oz (some ounce measuring device, if available)


4.         The true value is 1 oz. = 28.35 g.  Calculate the deviation and percent error.


5.         Obtain an unknown mass of less than 100 grams from the lab cart.  Record its number.


6.         Find the mass of  the unknown using the triple beam balance.  Record your data to the nearest  0.1 g.


7,         Repeat steps 5 and 6 using a mass of greater than 1000 grams.


Have the lab instructor check your results.




Top Loading Balances (0.01 g on each island):


For smaller masses, we use top loading balances and analytical balances.


Over the years the United States Ming has changed the ratio of different metals used in making the various coins.  The last change for the penny occurred in 1982.


Following is a brief chronology of the metal composition of the one-cent coin (penny):

  • From 1793 to 1837, pure copper.
  • From 1837 to 1857, bronze (95 percent copper, five percent tin and zinc).
  • From 1857 to 1864, 88 percent copper and 12 percent nickel, giving the coin a whitish appearance.
  • From 1864 to 1962, bronze (95 percent copper, five percent tin and zinc). Know as the wheat penny(In 1943, most cents were made of zinc-coated steel because of the critical use of copper for the war effort. However, some copper pennies were minted that year, know as the zinc penny.)
  • 1962 to 1982, 95 percent copper and 5 percent zinc (the tin was removed).
  • Since 1982, 97.5 percent zinc and 2.5 percent copper (copper-plated zinc). Cents of both compositions appeared in the first year.

Current Penny:




Copper-Plated Zinc: 2.5% Cu, Balance: Zn 97.5 %


Mass:  2.500 g


Diameter: 0.750 in., 19.05 mm


Thickness: 1.55 mm  Edge: Plain

     1.    Obtain three pre-1982 pennies and three post 1982 pennies.  Weigh each penny on the 0.01g top loaders at each island in the lab.


  1. Sum the three masses of both sets of pennies and calculate the average mass of each type of penny.


  1. Now record the mass of three post 1982 pennies and three pre1982 pennies using the top loader on your lab island:


__________g (6 pennies)    Average Mass of One: _________g


  1. Now record the mass of 10 post 1982 pennies and three pre1982 pennies using the top loader on your lab island:


__________g (13 pennies)    Average Mass of One: _________g


  1. Now record the mass of 22 post 1982 pennies (add 12 more pennies to the balance) and three pre1982 pennies using the top loader on your lab island:


__________g (25 pennies)    Average Mass of One: _________g



Finding the True Value:


  1. If available from your instructor, find the mass of a pre 1962 penny (Wheat penny) and a 1943 penny (Zinc Penny) using four different balances:


Balance                    Wheat Penny             Zinc Penny


Triple Beam                 ____________g          ____________g


Top Loader (0.01g)     ____________g           ____________g


Top Loader (0.001g)   ____________g           ____________g

(only one in the lab at the front desk)

Analytical Balance     ____________g           ____________g

(only one in the lab at the front desk)



Precision versus Accuracy:


                 Dart Board A                                                    Dart Board B                                                Dart Board C


In the World of Chemistry Video: “Measurement  toward the end of the film there was a discussion of Accuracy and Precision in experimentation.


Precision:  The agreement of repeated measurements of a quantity with another.


Accuracy: The agreement between the measured quantity and the accepted

                   (or true) value


In your post lab report, write a discussion of accurate and precise. How did the masses of the same type of penny vary?


Uncertainty:  The degree on inexactness in a measurement obtained from

                        an instrument.


In your post lab report, write a discussion of exactness and uncertainty in laboratory measurements.


An element found in nature has a mass number, which is a whole number, and an atomic mass, which is a rational number. On the periodic chart, the masses of elements are reported as atomic masses, not mass numbers. Why?





A. Note the two successive numbers on the graduations

     the diagram shown to the left: 


note the 50 and 45 numbers on the 50 mL graduate.


B. Count the spaces between the lines of 50 and 45. 

    In the diagram there are 5 spaces between 45 and 50.


C. Therefore C. The difference between 50 and 45 is 5 mL There are five spaces.          Divide the number of milliliters by the number

of spaces: 5 ÷ 5 = 1 milliliter for each line. (± 0.1 mL)


D. When reading volumes, count the number of lines between the bottom of meniscus and the next lower number.  In the diagram there are three lines between the meniscus and 40 ml line.  Therefore the reading is between  43 and  44 milliliters.


E. Estimate the distance between the lines to estimate the 0.1 mL.

This reading is 43.8 ± 0.1 mL.





F. In the diagram to the right, proper eye

Alignment is a direct line of sight toward

the meniscus.           


This will avoid parallax error, This reading

Is 87.5 ± 0.1 mL


It is two line below 90 and seven lines above 80.


G. You instructor will demonstrate the dark line technique


(The dark line must be several lines below the meniscus)





2.         Obtain one of the bottles (milk, soda pop or liquor) and fill each with water.  Record the volume in ounces or quarts.


3.         Using the appropriate size graduated cylinder, measure the volume of water contained in the bottle and record that volume.


4.         Calculate the number of milliliters in one ounce.  (63 oz. = ˝ gallon, 32 oz. = 1 qt)


5.         The accepted value is 29.5 ml = 1 oz.  Calculate your deviations and percent error.


6.         Record the volumes of liquid in each of at least 6 different graduated cylinders on the instructors table or the side counter.


7.        Record the cylinder numbers/capacity.  Record the volumes using as many significant digits as each graduated cylinder allows. 


Have the lab instructor check your results.






There are many counting units commonly used.  Dollars and cents are counting units.  Dozens, cases, six pack, each, pack, ream of paper, and gross are terms commonly used. (What is a “Baker’s” dozen?)


In chemistry we use the mole: 6.023 x 1023 objects = 1 mole.  A mole is sometimes thought of as a “chemist’s dozen”.  


In CHM 1025C or CHM 1032C (especially hospitals) you may encounter another counting unit, the EQUIVALENT.  It is the first cousin to a mole, so to speak. 


However, 20 years ago it was removed from the first year chemistry textbook.


Bean Jar or Gum Ball Experiment may be performed if time permits during this Measurement lab, otherwise during our first crucible experiment when we study mass relationships of chemical reactions we will attempt this experiment.