Enthalpy of Combustion Calculations

This is part of the HSC Chemistry course under the topic Alcohols.

HSC Chemistry Syllabus

  • conduct a practical investigation to measure and reliably compare the enthalpy of combustion for a range of alcohols

  • write equations, state conditions and predict products to represent the reactions of alcohols, including but not limited to (ACSCH128, ACSCH136):

– combustion

Calculating Enthalpy of Combustion in HSC Chemistry

This video walks through common calculation questions for enthalpy of combustion in HSC Chemistry.


Enthalpy of combustion is an essential concept in HSC Chemistry. Mastering the calculations will boost your exam performance. Here, we'll focus on top tips and common mistakes to avoid in enthalpy of combustion calculations.

Top Tips for HSC Chemistry Students

  • Always start with a balanced chemical equation for the combustion reaction.
  • Double-check the stoichiometric coefficients in the equation.
  • Make sure the molecular formula of the alcohol or hydrocarbon is correct in order to calculate the correct molecular mass.
  • Make sure units for energy, specific heat capacity and mass are consistent.
  • Don't forget to express the result in correct units e.g. kilojoules per mole (kJ/mol).
  • Consider energy losses to surrounding if applicable.