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To investigate the rate of cooling in three different types of cups

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Introduction

Problem

The problem for this experiment is to investigate the rate of cooling in three different types of cups. They will be used as typical coffee cups for commercial purposes. The cups a polystyrene cup, a paper cup and a plastic cup.

Water has a high specific heat capacity. This makes it a very useful material for storing and carrying heat energy. Its heat capacity is 4200 joules per kilogram per  °C (4200J/kg °C).

This is how water compares with other material:

image00.png

Calculating heat energy:

For water:

                4200 J heats 1 kg through 1 °C

               8400 J heats 2 kg through 1 °C

           84 000 J heats 2 kg through 10 °C

You could also calculate the result using an equation

heat energy = mass * specific heat * temperature

  gained                         capacity              rise

   (J)                (kg)         (J/kg °C)              (°C)                         

Heat tends to flow away from a hotter object to a cooler surroundings. Heat is mainly lost I conduction, convection, radiation and evaporation. For this experiment I will be only using convection, radiation, evaporation because conduction is mainly in solids.

Convection

...read more.

Middle

°C I poured 100ml of water from the beaker to the measuring cylinder.
  • Then I poured the water from the measuring cylinder into the polystyrene cup with a covered cork lid and a thermometer.
  • I took the readings of the temperature every 30 seconds for six minutes.
  • I repeated the same procedure for the paper and plastic cup.

Diagram

Results

Plastic

Time (mins&secs)

Temp (°C)

0

75 °C

30secs

60 °C

1min

59 °C

1min 30secs

58.5 °C

2mins

58 °C

2mins 30secs

58 °C

3mins

57.5 °C

3mins 30secs

57 °C

4mins

56.5 °C

4mins 30secs

56 °C

5mins

56 °C

5mins 30secs

55.5 °C

6mins

55 °C

...read more.

Conclusion

Polystyrene is the best insulator because it has topped pockets of air in it and this reduces convection because air can’t move and heat has to be lost by conduction, which is very slow in air.

I was wrong by saying that paper will be the quickest to cool down, plastic was.

Evaluation

If I had more time I would have repeated the experiment three to five times. My conclusion is only based on one set results so it might not be right because theoretically paper should lose heat faster than plastic.

So if I repeat the experiment I will have fewer errors and more accuracy and I will be able to work out the average.

I would try to use better equipment e.g. digital thermometer so there will be less reading/human error.

The only problem I had was with the cork lid. The hole in the middle for the thermometer was too big which resulted in heat loss because there was some space for it to escape.

...read more.

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