Investigating Temperature in Insulators

Satisfactory Essays
Investigating Temperature in Insulators

Preliminary Investigation


Which of the four materials acts as the best insulator when wrapped

around a glass beaker which is filled with boiling water?


The aim of this investigation is to test four materials (polystyrene,

fibre glass, cotton wool and bubble wrap), to see which one acts as

the best insulator. The temperature of the boiling water and the

material inside and outside will be taken at regular intervals by a

data logger and form this it will show the material that can insulate

the best. So this chosen material can be further tested in the main

practical by testing various thicknesses of the material, finding the

optimum size at which the material acts best as the insulator.


In theory a good insulator and poor insulator will produce a graph

like this:

[IMAGE]A good insulator will keep the temperature of the boiling water

as high as possible during the 20 minutes it will be timed for. And so

will produce a steep curve like the one in blue on the graph, which

would represent a good insulator.

A poor insulator wont be able to keep the temperature in the water, or

insulate it well so the temperature will drop fairly quickly.


I predict that cotton wool will be a good insulator because it will be

very good at reducing the heat loss. This is because inside cotton

wool there are many small pockets of trapped air, and air is a very

good insulator in small pockets. However I believe that fibre glass is

also a good conductor because this material also traps air, thus

preventing loss of heat due to convection currents. Air in its self

will also be a good insulator, but as I am only using the polystyrene

lid on cotton wool there will be a great difference in how the

temperature drops over the twenty minutes.


Ø Bubble wrap

Ø Polystyrene

Ø Fibre Glass
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