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Can heat loss be minimised by using materials such as polystyrene, fur, felt or aluminium as insulators?

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Investigation Question: Can heat loss be minimised by using materials such as polystyrene, fur, felt or aluminium as insulators? Hypothesis: I predict that the best insulation material will be polystyrene. As it contains many air pockets that will act as an aid to keep the heat contained as much as possible. Conduction is the flow of heat through matter form places of higher temperatures to places of lower temperatures without the movement of the matter. Particle vibration from the energy can be explained using the kinetic particle theory. Good conductors such as metals have a sea of electrons which can easily flow and carry heat energy. Insulators also have electrons, however, they cannot move because of the bonding between and within the electrons. Convection is the flow of heat through a fluid from places of higher temperatures to places of lower temperatures by the movement of the fluid itself; a fluid can be liquid or gas. Radiation is the flow of heat from one place to another by means of the electromagnetic waves. ...read more.


Independent - We will use different materials Dependent - We are measuring the amount of heat loss, which will depend on the insulation. Results: The following result table shows the temperature of the water with each material recorded every 30 seconds. Table 1 Temperature 0C Time (secs) Copper Aluminium Fake fur Felt Polystyrene Test 1 Test 2 Test 1 Test 2 Test 1 Test 2 Test 1 Test 2 Test 1 Test 2 0 71 86 86 87 87 72.5 79 81 79 78.5 30 71 83.5 84 85.5 83 72 78 80 79 78 60 70 83 83 84.5 84 72 78 79.5 79 78 90 69 81 82 84 83 71.5 77 79 79 77 120 69 80.5 81 83.5 82.5 71 77 78.5 79 77 150 68 79.5 80 83 82 70.5 76.5 78 78 76.5 180 68 78.5 80 82.5 82 70 76.5 78 78 76 210 67 78 79 81 81.5 70 76.5 77.5 77.5 76 240 67 77 79 81 81 70 76 77 77 75.5 270 67 77 79.5 81 81 ...read more.


For example, Copper = 401,000 x 0.034m2 x 7.30C x 300/600 = 29858460 or 59716920 Aluminium = 35294040 Felt = 146.88 Polystyrene = 33.66 There is no 'u' value for fur. Graphs: Figure 1 - graph showing how different insulators affect the temperature of hot water Figure 2 - graph showing combination of polystyrene and felt Figure 3 - bar graph showing change in temperature for each material Figure 4 - graph showing heat loss Conclusion: In conclusion, the experiment proved that my hypothesis was correct. Polystyrene was the best insulator, and felt was second best. Evaluation: The experiment was fairly accurate; we did have one anomalous result in table 1. Temperature 0C Time (secs) Fake fur Test 1 0 87 30 83 60 84 90 83 This could be due to a misreading of the thermometer or it was not placed inside the water correctly. The experiment could be improved by using different materials to extend the investigation and finding a more practical way of combining two or more materials together. ...read more.

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