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# Comparing the thermal insulating properties of different materials

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Introduction

Sophie Vernon 10a Mr Gale Physics Coursework 2 Comparing the thermal insulating properties of different materials Brief Two students lived in the same street in houses that were identical in size and shape. However, in winter they noticed that one of the homes had higher fuel bills than the other. They found this surprising because both of the homes had the same central heating system and were kept at the same temperature. The students decided to investigate this by using a beaker of water as the model for the house. Changing the type of insulation, measuring the temperature of the water in beaker and keeping the same the initial temperature of the water, the size of the beaker, the volume of the water and the thickness of the insulation. Three beakers were carefully insulated with a thickness of 0.5cm of material. However, because of it's shape the bubble plastic the same thickness all over. The beakers were insulated on the top and bottom as well as round the sides. One beaker with no insulation was used as a control experiment. 50cm of hot water was added to each beaker. The lids were fitted straight away. The initial temperature of water in all beakers were as similar as possible. The students did a trial run of the experiment and found that their results changed most in the first 40 minutes. They therefore decided to take the temperatures every 2 minutes for 40 minutes. The students predicted that the bubble plastic would be the best insulator. The students repeated the whole procedure twice to provide three sets of results. I predict that the bubble plastic will be the best insulator for the water. ...read more.

Middle

The amount of HCl will be 5 cm3 each time, and the amount of thiosulphate will be fixed at 15 cm3. During the heating stage of the experiment, a blue flame will be used throughout. Also the same Bunsen burner and gas tap will be used to maintain continuity. All of these precautions will make my final results more reliable and keep anomalies at a minimum so thus make the entire investigation more successful. Prediction - I predict that as the temperature is increased the rate of reaction will increase. I also predict that as the concentration of the sodium thiosulphate increases the rate of reaction will increase. This means that both graphs drawn up in my analysis will have positive correlation, and will probably be curved as the increase in rate of reaction will not be exactly the same as the concentration\temperature is increased. This can be justified by relating to the collision theory. When the temperature is increased the particles will have more energy and thus move faster. Therefore they will collide more often and with more energy. Particles with more energy are more likely to overcome the activation energy barrier to reaction and thus react successfully. If solutions of reacting particles are made more concentrated there are more particles per unit volume. Collisions between reacting particles are therefore more likely to occur. All this can be understood better with full understanding of the collision theory itself: For a reaction to occur particles have to collide with each other. Only a small percent result in a reaction. This is due to the energy barrier to overcome. Only particles with enough energy to overcome the barrier will react after colliding. ...read more.

Conclusion

Collisions between reacting particles are therefore more likely to occur. The graph for concentration shows that when the concentrations were relatively low (10, 15, 20 g/dm3), the increase of rate x1000 was also fairly small (increasing from 4.47 to 6.71 to 9.47). There was then a gradual increase in the difference, and between 30 and 35 g/dm3 the rate more than doubled from 17.90 to 37.56s-1. This shows that there are far more collisions at a concentration of 35 g/dm3 than at 30 g/dm3. The graph plotting time against the rate of reaction x1000 shows that the difference of rate between increasing temperatures (excluding the anomaly of 30�C) was pretty much regular, increasing in steps of 6-10 (9.17 to 15.37 to 24.28 to 31.67). However, once again there is a giant gap in the last temperature increase - at 60�C the RoR x1000 is 31.67 s-1, and at 70�C it is 57.03 s-1. For this to fully make sense it is necessary to recap the collision theory briefly: For a reaction to occur particles have to collide with each other. Only a small percent result in a reaction. This is due to the energy barrier to overcome. Only particles with enough energy to overcome the barrier will react after colliding. The minimum energy that a particle must have to overcome the barrier is called the activation energy, or Ea. The size of this activation energy is different for different reactions. If the frequency of collisions is increased the rate of reaction will increase. However the percent of successful collisions remains the same. An increase in the frequency of collisions can be achieved by increasing the concentration, pressure, or surface area. FREE GCSE COURSEWORK @ www.freestudentstuff.co.uk ...read more.

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