MadSci Network: Biochemistry

Re: How do I measure the energy combustion of protein, fats and carbohydrates?

Date: Sat Nov 25 00:34:05 2000
Posted By: Jerry McCormick, Staff, Chemistry, Independent Consultant
Area of science: Biochemistry
ID: 970151492.Bc

Good Morning, Jeff
I'm sorry about the delay, I was out of town for a few
As to building a bomb calorimeter:  The operative word
here is "bomb", because this device is used to combust
samples in an atmospere of oxygen and the heat effect is
measured by temperature rise in a known volume of water
in which the bomb is immersed.  Depending on the sample
size and heat of combustion of the sample, there can be
quite a large transient rise in pressure in the vessel
and it must be constructed accordingly.  Don't fool
around with this!  Commercial devices are well
engineered and have a large safety factor, but the nitty
gritty of this is that the determination involves a bomb
and that's what it can be.
JRD McCormick                                                          

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