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To find the best insulating material by measuring how quickly water cools

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Introduction

An investigation to see which is the best insulator Aim: To fin the best insulating material by measuring how quickly water cools Prediction: I predict that the plastic on coconut will be the best insulator. Theory: My reason for choosing plastic and coconut as the best insulator is because company's use plastic when producing things to contain heat. An example of this is a kettle, which use's plastic to keep the heat in so that it does not escape. Plastic is also used on the handles of pot's and pans, which deal with a lot of heat when cooking. Coconut is also a good insulator because when you cut down a coconut from the palm tree there is a lot of liquid inside of it. This liquid is kept inside of with out having the liquid evaporating. When you combine the two together you get the best of both. You are also trapping air in between the two materials. There are also three ways heat can travel these as conduction, convection and radiation. Conduction: This is the process in which heat is transferred from molecule to molecule by vibrating into each other hence passing the energy. ...read more.

Middle

1 tin foil lid Method:In the experiment, I am going to test 5 different materials in order to discover which is the best at insulating heat. We are to test the materials by wrapping them around a mug, which I will fill with 200ml of hot water at 80c and take the temperature every minute for 10 minutes. This will enable me to see the temperature decline clearly. I will repeat this sequence 3 times for each material to make sure it is fair and take a table of averages at the end. I will be using a thermometer to record the temperature, which is accurate to O.5c. The thermometer will be placed through the tin foil lid. Preliminary Experiment: This is the first of the series in which I used only the mug with a layer of tin foil around it. I used no lid so I could see the effects of convection and then decide on whether to use a lid in the real experiments using materials. In this we tried to use 300ml of water but found it to be impractical so will use only 200ml for the final experiment. ...read more.

Conclusion

In theory, the wool should have been best at reducing conduction as it is very thick and matted but it has square gaps between each strand ofwool where it has been sown together allowing heat to pass through. The poor insulating materials (Nylon and cotton) are very thin so unable to trap air hence being poor thermal insulating materials. The graph reflects the influence of conduction as the materials best at reducing it cooled slowest. Convection occurs through the sides of the mug but mainly through the top of the mug. To prevent this I have used a tin foil lid. This makes it fajr for all tested materials as they all have convection reduced equally out of the top of the mug leaving the material to insulate the convection occurring through the sides. Radiation can be absorbed or reflected by opaque surfaces and dull rough surfaces absorb more heat. This is much like the properties of coconut on plastic which is why it was good at insulating radiation because its outer plastic could absorb radiation and the dull and rough inside coconut could also absorb heat. This is another reason why it performed best. ...read more.

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