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# Cooling curves - Temperature in insulators: Preliminary Investigation

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Introduction

Cooling curves - Temperature in insulators Preliminary Investigation Question Which of the four materials acts as the best insulator when wrapped around a glass beaker which is filled with boiling water? Aim The aim of this investigation is to test four materials (polystyrene, fibre glass, cotton wool and bubble wrap), to see which one acts as the best insulator. The temperature of the boiling water and the material inside and outside will be taken at regular intervals by a data logger and form this it will show the material that can insulate the best. So this chosen material can be further tested in the main practical by testing various thicknesses of the material, finding the optimum size at which the material acts best as the insulator. Theory In theory a good insulator and poor insulator will produce a graph like this: A good insulator will keep the temperature of the boiling water as high as possible during the 20 minutes it will be timed for. ...read more.

Middle

Apparatus > Bubble wrap > Polystyrene > Fibre Glass > Cotton wool > Air > 5 Beakers > Boiling water (kettle) > Probes (attached to data logger) > Thermometer > Safety goggles > Gloves > Mask > Elastic band > Lid Method > Firstly put on safety goggles > Next collect all three beakers > Cut all four materials so that they wrap twice around the beaker and twice on the bottom of the beaker. Fill the beakers with 300ml boiling water > Wait until the water has been poured into the beaker and measure this temperature -(use a thermometer to check this) > Then place the temperature probes into the boiling water in each of the beakers once they are clamped to a clamp stand. After of course the data logger has been set up to a laptop. ...read more.

Conclusion

Then from these results I will carry on to do the experiment with the four materials with or without the lid from this extra investigation. Table of results Time (minutes) Temp �c Temp �c Temp �c Temp �c Cotton Wool Bubble Wrap Fibre Glass Polystyrene From the graphs of each material I will be able to work out the instantaneous temperature at any point. And in the main practical I will be able to work out this and the optimum thickness of the insulating material. From this preliminary work I will be able to see clearly which material will be suitable to use for the main practical, a material that is the best insulator. So I will be looking out for a steep line on the graph. I will finally be assessing whether to use a lid in my main practical by comparing the cotton wool graph with lid with the cotton wool graph without the use of a lid. I should be able to see a significant difference. ...read more.

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