Finding The Most Effective Insulator Out Of The Metal, Polymer, And Cotton

1569 Words Nov 16th, 2015 7 Pages
II. Introduction
Problem: The purpose of this experiment is to find the most effective insulator out of the metal, polymer, and cotton.
Background: By definition, an insulator is a substance that transfers heat poorly, meaning it traps the heat of what it contains. (InnovateUs). A material is either an insulator or a conductor, which is the opposite of an insulator: a material that transfers heat efficiently. What classifies these materials into these two categories are their specific heats. Specific heat is “the amount of heat per unit of mass required to raise the temperature [of a substance] by one degree Celsius,” (GSU). The higher the specific heat, the more thermal energy must be used to change the temperature. Water, for
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The Styrofoam lost 29.7°C over the same time period, but the water with no insulation lost 31.5°C, proving that Styrofoam is a better insulator than air, (Jay). In another experiment by Grant Bishko, cans were wrapped in a different insulator: foil, bubble, air, cloth, and cotton. Of these materials, the cotton was the best insulator, with a loss of only 8°C over ten minutes. Air, or no insulator, was the worst insulator, losing a total of 12°C during those 10 minutes, (Bishko). So, it can be concluded that the cotton and the polymer will be the best insulators during this experiment because of their high specific heats.

VII. Conclusion At the beginning of the experiment, the hypothesis was, “If a metal, a polymer, and a cotton material are used to test the ability to insulate a jar of water, then the polymer will be the best insulator because it is the most dense and has the highest specific heat of the three materials.” From the data in the lab, this hypothesis was not supported. The cotton was the best insulator because the baby food jar surrounded by the cotton decreased the least in temperature. As shown by the first data table, at the start of the experiment, the water with the cotton was 64°C, which dropped to 57.5°C after 15
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