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Science Experiments: Insulators and Temperatures

by Ellie Prunty McMahon


Science Experiments : Temperature and Insulators
We carried out an experiments to see which material would act as the best insulator to keep a cup of hot water warm. The materials I used were bubble wrap and tinfoil.
We kept the amount of water in each cup the same and the only thing we changed was the insulator on the outside of the cup. We measured the temperature of the water at all times in the cups for 10 minutes. Our prediction was that the cup with the tin foil around it would stay hotter for longer.
  1. We filled 3 paper cups with hot water and measured the temperature of the water in each cup - they were all 90 degrees
  2. We estimated which cup would be the hottest in the end and we thought that the cup with the tinfoil around it would be the hottest
  3. Using tinfoil, we wrapped one of the cups. We wrapped another cup with bubble wrap and left the final cup the way it was initially
  4. We set a timer for 10 minutes and recorded the temperature of the water in each of the cups again using a thermometer
  5. We recorded our results on a sheet of paper

  1. The cup with tinfoil - 68 degrees
  2. The cup with bubble wrap - 66 degrees
  3. The cup with nothing - 59 degrees

This experiment helped us come to the conclusion that tinfoil is a very good insulator of heat and it is certainly better than bubble wrap.

By carrying out this experiment we learned that there are many different insulators that we can find in our everyday lives and they are all around us. We also practiced our maths skills by measuring the amount of water in the cups, finding out how much the temperature in each cup dropped by and measuring the temperature using a thermometer. is the link to a video for children about insulators and conductors of heat
In another part of the class, we wanted to investigate whether or not adding ice cubes to water had an effect on the temperature of the water.

We put water from the tap in a beaker and measured the temperature. It was 20 degrees. We left the thermometer in the water and added 2 ice cubes to it. the temperature slowly began to drop and after 5 minutes the temperature had dropped to only 6 degrees.

This is exactly what we predicted would happen as the ice cube would slowly start to melt and the cold water would mix with the warmer water to bring the temperature down.