Which Common Household Material Keeps Water Cold the Longest?

Researched by Conor T.
2000-01



PURPOSE

The purpose of this experiment was to determine which common household product (Aluminum foil, wax paper, bubble wrap or butcher paper) would keep water cold the longest.

I became interested in this idea when I played football and wondered if there was a way to keep my water bottle cold by using common household products.

The information gained from this experiment will help anybody who needs food or water to be kept cold without the use of ice. Campers can keep their food supplies from spoiling by wrapping them in an insulating material. Shippers may line their shipping goods with an insulating material to insure they are delivered fresh. School lunches may be wrapped in an insulating material to keep the food cold and fresh until lunch time.




 

HYPOTHESIS

My hypothesis was that aluminum foil would keep the water cold longest when compared to bubble wrap, butcher paper and wax paper.

I base my hypothesis on the fact that aluminum foil is used as a household insulator. Bubble wrap, butcher paper and wax paper are not used as household insulators.




 

EXPERIMENT DESIGN

The constants in this study were: 

  • Size of bottle
  • Amount of water
  • Amount of material used to wrap bottle 
  • Amount of time in refrigerator before wrapping bottle 
  • The outside temperature
  • Amount of insulating material used to insulate bottle
  • Beginning water temperature


The manipulated variable was the material used as an insulator for the water bottle.

The responding variable was the temperature the water reached after two hours.

To measure the responding variable I used a thermometer and measured in degrees Celsius. Stopwatch measured time elapsed.




 

MATERIALS
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

QUANTITY
ITEM DESCRIPTION
5
 water bottles of same size
5 Celsius thermometers
3000mL
 water
1 sheet  aluminum foil 
1 sheet  wax paper 
1 sheet  butcher paper 
1 sheet  bubble wrap 
refrigerator 
stop watch




 

PROCEDURES

1) Fill each of the five bottles with 1000mL of water.
2) Place each water bottle in the refrigerator for twelve hours leaving the bottles uncapped.
3) After twelve hours, take one bottle out of the refrigerator and wrap it in the aluminum foil.
4) Repeat step 3 wrapping a separate bottle with the bubble wrap.
5) Repeat step 3 wrapping a separate bottle with the wax paper.
6) Repeat step 3 wrapping a separate bottle with the butcher paper.
7) Leave one bottle unwrapped to be a control group.
8) Place one thermometer in each of the bottles.
9) Record temperatures of all five water bottles every ten minutes for two hours.




 

RESULTS

The original purpose of this experiment was to determine which common household product (Aluminum foil, wax paper, bubble wrap or butcher paper) will keep water cold the longest.

The results of the experiment were after two hours, the bottle wrapped in aluminum foil was raised by 5° C, the bottle wrapped in wax paper was raised by 6° C, the bottle wrapped in bubble wrap was raised by 8° C, the bottle wrapped in butcher paper was raised by 6° C, and the control bottle was raised by 9° C.

See the table and graphs.




 

 CONCLUSION

My hypothesis was that aluminum foil would keep the water cold longest when compared to bubble wrap, butcher paper and wax paper.

The results indicate that this hypothesis should be accepted because aluminum foil retained the most heat and kept the water the coldest in the time given.

Because of the results of this experiment, I wonder if plastic wrap will retain heat at all, and if it retains more heat than aluminum foil.

If I were to conduct this project again I would try new materials, record each bottle one at a time, and try boiling water under a refrigerated area, which would test how well the material retains heat as it tries to leave the water instead of enter the water. I also would conduct more trials than one, and take averages of the three trials.



RESEARCH REPORT

INTRODUCTION

 Humans are warm-blooded and need to maintain their body temperature in order to live. Shelter us a method used by society to help protect people from cold weather. Shelter often contains insulation.

Heat

 Heat is a form of energy.  Heat is measured as temperature, which is the measure of how cold or hot something is. Temperature is often measured in degrees Celsius. Water will freeze at 0 degrees Celsius, and boils at 100 degrees Celsius. Another way of measuring heat is on the Kelvin Scale. The lowest recorded temperature is 0° K, or ?273.15° C. This temperature is known as absolute zero. 
Humans need a controlled amount of heat to live. The food we eat acts as fuel to produce heat that keeps our body at 37° C. Heat is used to cook food items, boil water, and keep food items fresh.
 There are three ways that heat flows. Conduction is the movement of heat through a material. When heat travels by conduction it moves through a material without carrying the material with it. Convection is the movement of heat by moving a heated object like air or water from one place to another. Radiation is when heat travels in waves.
Heat energy always travels from warmer matter to colder matter. Therefore, a cold object does not transfer cold from itself to another. It "pulls" the heat out of the warmer object.
 
 

Insulation

 Insulation is the restriction of heat, sound or electricity. Insulation is also the material used to cause these restrictions. Insulation is used in houses to keep the heat inside during the winter and outside during hot times. Insulation is also used in blankets, jackets, and drink bottles. Insulation does not create heat; it prevents heat from flowing. Therefore, if you placed a blanket over something cold, it will be cold underneath the blanket.

SUMMARY

Heat and insulation have always been used. Heat has been used since the beginning of time and is important for all things to live.  Insulation is an easy way to stay warm without using as much electricity, or burning as many fuels.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
"Cellulose Insulation"[Online] Available http://www.advancedfiber.com/cellulose.htm January 10, 2001
 

Encyclopedia Britannica "Heat" available http://www.britannica.com/bcom/eb/article/6/0,5716,40566+1+39732,00.html?kw=heat January 10, 2001

Encyclopedia Britannica "Kelvin" available http://www.britannica.com/bcom/eb/article/6/0,5716,46086+1+45037,00.html?kw=kelvin January 10, 2001

"Energy Savers: Insulation And Weatherization Body"[Online] Available http://www.eren.doe.gov/consumerinfo/energy_savers/insulationbody.html January 10, 2001
 

McElroy, David L; "Insulation; The World Book Encyclopedia; Vol. 10; 1998

Powell, Evan; "Heat"; The World Book Encyclopedia; Vol. 9; 1998

Plum, Harmon H; "Temperature"; The World Book Encyclopedia; Vol. 19; 1998

University of California; "Conversion" available http://www.cchem.berkeley.edu/ChemResourses/temperature.html January 10, 2001

"Unitís of Temperature" available http://ww2010.atmos.uiuc.edu/(Gh)/guides/maps/ctof.rxml January 10, 2001
 

Watkins, Danny; "The effect of different types of insulation on heat retention" available http://www.selah.k12.wa.us/SOAR/sciproj2000/DannyW.html January 10, 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    I would like to thank the following people for making my science project possible. I would like to thank my parents, Nathan and Jane, for their support and advice, and for helping me acquire some of my materials.
    My classmates, for helping me make my experiment better.
    My science teachers, Mr. Omar Arambul and Mr. Ken Newkirk, for helping me improve my science project.
Thank you for all of your help.


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