What is Calorimeter ?

What is calorimeter and what does it do?

You must have heard of calorimeter in physics and chemical laboratories, and hospitals settings.  A calorimeter is a measuring instrument for measuring the heat resulting from the physical changes and chemical reactions going in a specific process. It also measures heat capacity, thus gives an idea of substances’ heat exchange rates. There are various kinds of calorimeters such as scanning calorimeter, titration calorimeter, isothermal microcalorimeter and accelerated rate calorimeter. As far as the composition of this instrument is concerned, it is made up of thermometer that is attached to the metal container filled with water till above the combustion chamber.

Calorimeter is mainly used in laboratories belonging to different industries, especially food and manufacturing. In addition, pharmacy and chemical industry are also the major users of calorimeters since a number of reactions and processes involved here are required to be measured in terms of heat generation and capacity for having accurate outcomes. Calorimeter is also specifically used for measuring the heat of a substance. The measurement thus shows the heat content of the substances, along with the indication regarding whether the reaction is either endothermic or exothermic. Endothermic reactions are those where heat is absorbed during the reaction, while in exothermic reactions; heat is released as a result of reaction. This information is highly important in manufacturing processes especially of medicinal formulas and chemically manufactured items like fertilizers, detergents etc.

Calorimeters are also heavily used in science labs in different educational institutions and  the experiments taught in the science classes often involve the use of calorimeter in order to make students understand the importance of heat measurement instruments.