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An Investigation Into How the Thickness of Insulation Affects the Time a Drink Takes to Cool Down

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An Investigation Into How the Thickness of Insulation Affects the Time a Drink Takes to Cool Down * Aim In this investigation I am trying to find out how the thickness of insulation around a drink in a cup affects the time a drink takes to cool down. I want to find out if insulation does affect the cooling time of a drink and if so how. I would like to produce an unbiased and fair set of results. I would like to produce results that match my prediction and the scientific theory behind them. I would like there to be an obvious trend in the results and a pattern which can be easily be used to predict further results when changing the thickness of the insulation. Preferably there would be no anomalous figures. I aim to undertake a safe and well-planned investigation after which I will be able to arrive at a thorough and decisive conclusion. I aim to do the right amount of experiments for there to be an accurate result, not to do too many unnecessary ones. I will conduct some preliminary experiments to decide on what measurements I will take and also what range of thickness to use. My overall aim is to perform a safe, well planned, precise and conclusive investigation into how the quantity of insulation affects the time it takes for a drink to cool down. * Prediction My prediction is that the more the thickness of the insulation is increased the longer the drink will take to cool down. I also predict that for every two layers added the temperature change will go down by about 2oC. I do not predict that all of my results will follow a line of best fit exactly as that would be very hard to achieve but they will probably have a trend. There is a possibility of getting one or two anomalous results but I hope that my results will follow a pattern. ...read more.


One problem though is that 90oC is hard to get as after the water has been poured out it cools too quickly and I cannot get set up quick enough. This is why I have decided to use 85oC as my start temperature. I can get set up before the temperature gets to 85oC and also the liquid will not be cooling down as quickly. Cooling Time - I have found that 5 minutes would be the optimum time. After this the temperature starts to decrease too slowly and any noticeable change is minimal. I will be using a 150ml beaker for a cup. I am using this size because there is plenty of surface area for heat to possibly escape and also it will be easier to put insulation around it. I will need two beakers as I will do each thickness of insulation twice, at the same time. I will also need two thermometers, one for each beaker, to measure the temperatures accurately. I will then know the start temperature and the final temperature after 5 minutes. The insulation I will be using is 'bubble wrap'. I will need 22 sheets of this to use as insulation round the beaker and also 1 sheet for the lid on each beaker. I will need a kettle to boil my water, ready to place in the beakers and start the experiment at 85oC. I will also need 6 rubber bands to secure the insulation and the lids in place. * Measurements In my investigation I will be measuring how quickly a beaker of water cools down when it has different thickness' of insulation. I will have six different thickness' of insulation (in layers of two): 0,2,4,6,8 and 10. I will perform two experiments for each thickness, this way my results will be more accurate because I will be able to take an average. I will record the start temperature and the finish temperature after 5 minutes. ...read more.


None of them are anomalous and they all follow a trend. They follow my prediction and scientific reasoning. If there were a number of anomalous results then I would question their reliability but as there are not I know that they are reliable. They follow the line of best fit very well, slightly better than I had predicted. Because both of my two experiments, for each thickness of insulation, got about the same recordings this suggests to me that they are accurate and reliable and there will be no need to repeat any of them. If I were performing my investigation again on another occasion I would complete three experiments at each amount of insulation. This would mean my results would be more accurate and it would be easier to spot if I had made an error in the practical stage. Also my average would be better because I would have three recordings instead of two. When I was performing my experiments I did not have time to do three. An additional way to improve my experiments would be to use a more accurate temperature-measuring device. This would mean that the recordings would be more accurate. This option was not available to me and at the time I could only use thermometers that only measure in 1oC scales. As a related investigation I could do the same thing as this investigation but see how not using a lid affects it. I would still change the amount of insulation round the beaker. I could see if the results of that were similar to the results I have for this investigation. I could also change the type of insulation I use. I could experiment with different types and see which style is best at preventing heat loss. Some types will be made of a material that is better at stopping energised particles from passing on their energy. Another possible investigation to perform would be to use a different amount of water. I could monitor whether more water would decrease the rate of thermal energy being lost or vice-versa. ...read more.

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