• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Conductivity or thermal conductivity is a measure of how good a conductor a material is. The rate of heat energy transfer through an object depends on the conductivity of the material and the temperature gradient.

Extracts from this document...


Physics: Heat loss



 I predict that whenever there is a temperature difference , ehat energy will be transferred by conduction, convection or radiation fro the hotter to the cooler place. This increases the internal enrgy , which is the sum of the kinetic energy and the molecular potential energy of each molecule in an object, of the cooler atoms raising the temperature , and dreases the energy of the hotter atoms , lowering theirs. It continues until the temperature is the same across the region.

    Conductivity or thermal conductivity is a measure of how good a conductor a material is. The rate of heat energy transfer through an object depends on the conductivity of the material and the temperature gradient.

Temperature = t2 -t

Gradient         X

t1, t2+ temps at point 1 and 2


This is the temperature change with distance along the material . The higher the conductivity and the steeper the gradient, the faster the energy transfer.

Heat transfer to polystyrene cup

Convection is a way in which heat energy is transferred in liquids and gases. If a liquid or a gas is heated it expands, becomes less dense and rises. Cooler, denser liquid or gas then sinks to take its place. Thus convection current is set up.

Coastal breezes used to explain convection currents

 We use leslies cube in my preliminary work to measure radiation, radiation is a way

...read more.


22.5 degrees

17.5 degrees

50 degrees and above

8.0 degrees


17.25 degrees

10.0 degrees


10.5 degrees

10 degrees

10.0 degrees

16.5 degrees

11 degrees

30 degrees and above

8.0 degrees


7.33 degrees

5.5 degrees


5.5 degrees

11.0 degrees

5.0 degrees

3.0 degrees

6.0 degrees

 From this chart you can see that without the cardboard lid the results atre very random and this means that the heat is able to fluctuate greatly as you can tell from my results. I have therefore decided to have a lid on the cup as the results with the lid on seem a lot more constant and the heat isn’t allowed to fluctuate as much.

   I suspect that I will find that heat energy will be lost mostly conductivity and convection rather than radiation as I have tried to reduce the effects of this to as little as possible . For my acual test I will change the integers at which heat is lost from e.g. instead of going 70 degrees and above to 50 degrees and above I will try to have exactly 70 degrees and exactly 65degrees, I will then be able to draw more accurate results from this.


Equipment needed

. Polystyrene cup        . Kettle

. Thermometer                               . Stop watch

. Cardboard lid                               . Measuring cylinder

How to set up the experiment

The experiment will be carried out in the following way:

  1. Set apparatus uo as shown above.
  2. Tap water will be put into a kettle to boil
  3. It will then be put into a 100ml measuring cylinder to measure the amount of water
  4. Pour water into a polystyrene cup, put lid on and take the temperature
...read more.





















This shows that my results were fairly constant and shows that my experiment was fair and therefore was a success.


As all of the pairs of my results were close I know that my experiment gave reproducible results. This shows that my experiment was a success and that my results were of a good quality. I do not believe I have any anomonlous results which shows to me that again my experiment was accurate. My line of best shape goes through all the results , this tells me that I have high quality results and a  good experiment.

 I could improve my experiment if I was to do it again by using more viscous liquids which could give me an insight into how heat is lost in other liquids. I could also alternate the environment in which it is done in to see how it is effected by external as well as internal heat.

   As an extension to this experiment I could use DL + as an electronic temperature measurment device would be more accurate. This would also be good because it can be set to take temperatures hundreds of times per second. This would give me a better curve of temperature vs time and would also allow a finer discrimibnation to take place. Another way in which I could extend the experiment could be to do it oppositly and determine how much energy is needed to maintain the temperature. To achieve this I would need new equipment such as electronics heating , a thermostadt and a joule meter. I could also work out the energy by doing the calculation below.

...read more.

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Electricity and Magnetism section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Electricity and Magnetism essays

  1. Investigating the Heat Loss of Water From a Beaker

    This is because we are using calorimeters that have a shiny silver coating on the outside, and bright shiny surfaces are poor radiators. This means not much heat will be lost by radiation. Also for radiation to be effective the substances have to be extremely hot.

  2. Heat loss

    I notice a pattern in both which is that both lines of best fit are curved; a smooth curve. Between the first and second minute, the temperature decreased profusely. First it was 83�C for the beaker with card and 82�C for the one without and at the second minute it

  1. Super Conductivity

    The critical elements in reaching the superconducting state are for conduction electrons to somehow form Cooper pairs, which then in turn automatically condense into a coherent flow, the "coherent" aspect being similar to that of a laser, i.e. everybody in step!

  2. How does the Relative Molecular Mass change in heat combustion of an alcohol?

    I used the same setup and equipment, as in the diagram but used hexane instead of an alcohol. Results of Preliminary work Mass of fuel + burner + lid - Start: 235.02g -Finish: 232.14g Temperature of 200ml of water - Start: 24 degrees C - Finish: 64 degrees C Calculating Heat Of Combustion Energy transferred (joules)

  1. Investigating The Heat Of Combustion Of Alcohols.

    were worked out using the same method used to work out the energy produced by methanol and ethanol). This gives the total energy produced as 1732.5kJ, which is used to heat the water and copper calorimeter. The combustion of pentanol is shown as: pentanol + oxygen carbon dioxide + water + energy C5H11OH + 15/2O2 (g)

  2. The Problem that I am going to investigate is to see the amount of ...

    All objects take in and give out radiation. A type of electromagnetic radiation called infrared radiation is the method that heat can be transferred by through empty space. During radiation there is no exchange of mass and no medium is necessary.

  1. The topic of which I have been studying is energy transfers, how energy can ...

    I am investigating the height so that I can find out how the height of the ramp can change how fast the ball moves also it is the more convenient to do. When I draw my graph I will only use my averages of the three results and calculated speed.

  2. Finding a material's specific heat capacity

    0.21% Water temperature Temperature � 0.05�C 11.10�C 0.45% Electrical Energy Power - - 0.02% Time + 1.00 s 1290.00 s 0.08% Total: 0.10% Water energy Specific heat capacity taken to be zero 4192.50 J kg-1 K-1 0.00% Mass � 0.50 g 272.00 g 0.20% Temperature change 2 x � 0.05�C

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work