Heating ice to observe changes in state

The apparatus was set up as shown in the diagram.

The initial temperature of the ice was taken and recorded in a table (at time zero). The experimenter made sure that the thermometer was in place (in the centre of the ice mass) for long enough to allow the thread of the thermometer to fully contract before noting the reading.

The stop watch was started and the ice was heated steadily (the bunsen flame was not adjusted once set in place so that heat energy was given to the ice/water at a steady rate) and gently (half-closed-hole bunsen flame), until the water had been boiling for three minutes During this time the temperature of the ice/water was taken every minute and recorded in the table.

To minimize errors

Before each reading was taken the ice/water was stirred and care was taken to read the instument at eye-level and to keep the bulb of the thermometer fully immersed - and not resting on the bottom of the beaker.


  • Safety goggles were worn.
  • The experimenter did not alllow herself to be distracted - she paid attention to the task in hand!
  • Sleeves were rolled up to avoid them catching fire as the thermometer was held.
  • The thermometer was not left unattended standing in the beaker as it could easily make the beaker of water overturn.
  • The experimenter stood up throughout the experiment, as being seated might have hindered quickly moving out of the way should the beaker be accidentally overturned.
  • The beaker was carefully reached down from the tripod and placed on a heat proof mat as soon as possible - less likely to be knocked over on a solid lower base.

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