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Investigate how the material of a cup affects the time it takes for the liquid to cool down.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Which coffee stays the hottest?

Aim:

To investigate how the material of a cup affects the time it takes for the liquid to cool down.

Prediction:

The factors that will affect this investigation are:

  • The Material  of the cup
  • Colour of the cup
  • Surface area
  • Amount of water the cup contains
  • Whether its got a lid or not
  • Room temperature (temperature of its surroundings)
  • Thickness of cup
  • Type of liquid it contains
  • Air movement surrounding the cup.

I will be investigating what effect the material of the cup has on the rate at which the watercools down.

I predict that the polystyrene cup would keep the water hotter for longer, the paper cup would be the second, the ceramic would come third and the water in the metal cup would cool down the quickest. This is because polystyrene is a better insulator than paper, paper is better than ceramic etc.                  

Reasons:

A material that prevents heat loss is called an insulator. Insulators have to prevent these three types of heat loss:

  • Conduction
  • Convection
  • Radiation

Conduction:

Conduction is the flow of heat through matter, from places of higher temperature, to places of lower temperature without movement of the matter as a whole. Conduction of heat occurs mainly in solids. This process is where vibrating particles pass their extra vibration energy to neighbouring particles.

Most metals are good conductors of heat, these are used whenever heat is required to travel quickly through something. Saucepans, boilers and radiators are made of metals such as aluminium, iron and copper.

 The inside of a motorbike engine is hot.

...read more.

Middle

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Time (Min)

Heat Loss for different materials

Aluminium

Ceramic

Paper

Polystyrene

T ( oC)

Q (J)

T ( oC)

Q (J)

T ( oC)

...read more.

Conclusion

Q= heat loss

M= mass of water (100ml/1000=0.1kg)

C= specific heat capacity of water (4200J/(kg oC)

  It can be seen from this graph that the rate of heat loss is much higher for the first few minutes, the same as graph one after that it was steadily reducing again due to convection.

Evaluation:

The experiment was not very accurate due to the following reasons:

  • The cups did not have the same wall thickness’ therefor there was a different rate conduction. The cups with the thicker walls had more advantage because they lost less heat.
  • The cups did not all have the same surface area. Therefore, the cups with larger surface area had less advantage because they had a higher rate of conduction.
  • The cups did not have the same size opening at the top. Therefore, more heat was lost due to convection, on the cups with wider openings at the top.
  • The cups were not all the same colours. The metal cup was darker than the other three cups, as they were all white, so the metal cup lost less heat.

This experiment could have been improved if we had tried to use similar cups.  We could have used a metal cup that was painted white so that the radiation on all the cups would have been the same. We could have tried to use cups with the same surface area.

The results were not very reliable because it was not a fair test, and they are not good enough to draw a firm conclusion, because they did not come out exactly as I had expected, but I still wouldn’t change my method, I would only try to use more similar cups.

Sara Saidpour                Page

...read more.

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