The Most Suitable Material for a Backpacker's Towel

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The Most Suitable Material for a Backpacker's Towel

Chemistry: Data Analysis for the most suitable material for a

backpacker’s towel.



In groups, we tested three different types of material (named pale

blue, dark blue and brown) to find out which one would be more

suitable as a backpacker’s towel. The criteria that would make a good

backpacker’s towel would be aspects such as a low density, high

absorpancy, rapid drying etc.

We weighed the fabric before wetting it and weighing it again. We then

hung it on some suspended string and let a rotating fan dry them for

fifteen minutes. After this time was up, we weighed the materials

again in order to work out the drying rate, the absorpancy and the

amount of water lost. We then recorded our results in a table

(displayed further on) and analysed these to come to a conclusion.

The formulas I used were as follows:

Absorbency – wet towel mass – dry towel mass/dry towel mass

Water Lost – Wet mass – Dry mass

Drying Rate – (Water Lost/Time [15]) x 60 to give [g/hr]

Density – Mass Dry/Area to give [g/cm squared]



Part of the criteria that adds to what makes a backpacker’s towel is a

high absorbency. The graph shows that the Pale Blue fabric had the

highest absorbency and no anomalies, indicating accurate results. The

least absorbent fabric is the brown.

The Pale blue fabric absorbency ranges from 2.1 to 4.2. The Dark Blue

fabric’s absorbency ranges from 1.7 to 3.2 with one higher anomaly and

the brown fabric’s absorbency ranges from 1 to 2.9, with one higher


What also makes a good backpacker’s towel is rapid drying, i.e. a high

drying rate. The fabric with the highest drying rate is, again, the pale blue one. The ranges I have devised on both graphs do not include the anomalies, and I will go further into this in my evaluation. The pale blue data for drying rate shows a very high

anomaly and a very low one, with the data taken into consideration

ranging from 14 to 52.5. The Dark Blue fabric ranges from 12.5 to

39.5, with two higher anomalies and the brown fabric ranges from 18.5

to 42.5 with 1 anomaly.

To summarise, the brown fabric had the lowest absorbency, then the

dark blue and then the pale blue. The dark blue fabric had the lowest

drying rate, then the brown fabric and then the pale blue fabric.

To conclude, the pale blue fabric was identified, from interpreting my

graphs, as the best fabric for a backpacker’s towel, so at this point

the pale blue fabric would probably be better that the dark blue and
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