The Most Suitable Material for a Backpacker's Towel

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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Related Searches

brown fabrics for a backpacker’s towel.


There are many factors in this investigation that weren’t done
accurately, that could be improved and/or repeated in order to find
more accurate results.

The variables themselves and the way in which the data was collected
plays a major part in the accuracy of the results. The first thing is
that not all the fabrics were of the same size – they had different
areas. This means that some could hold more water than others and
eventually taking longer to dry. This leads me on to the question that
I think should be answered in an evaluation of an investigation or
experiment – Was this a fair investigation/experiment? In most
investigations and experiments, it is very rare that the data
collection methods, results and interpretations are all perfect. There
is nearly always room for improvement in all/most investigations and
experiments. Improvements are made to ensure accuracy or more accuracy
to try and achieve the best results. The way in which the problem of
the uneven areas of the fabrics can be solved is ensuring beforehand
that all fabrics are the same size and area.

A data collection that can be questioned is also how much water is put
into the fabrics. We did not put a specific amount of water into the
fabrics. We simply wet the fabric and ringed out the water. Some
people may not have rung out their fabrics as much as others, and some
may have even put in more water than others. This will affect the
results in the fact that, the fabrics that were containing more water
when they were hung up to dry will take longer to dry, thus lowering
the drying rate. This can be resolved by maybe putting the same amount
of water in each piece of fabric and the repetition of this process
and the investigation. I suggest repetition, not only for accuracy,
but because even if you put in the same amount of water into each
fabric, when it is rung out, people will have different amounts of
water in their fabric because people are of different strengths and
techniques (when ringing it out).

The drying of the fabric, the process was not as accurate as it could
have been. Firstly, we had to dry them for 15 minutes. However, people
were hanging them up to be dried at different times. This, in a few
cases, caused confusion between members of the class as to (a) how
long we were drying them for; (b) if they had dried them for long
enough or too long (i.e. losing track of time) and (c) which fabrics
were theirs. To improve this I would say more attention could have
been included and again, the repetition of results. Repetition enough
times would give us an average which would overall be more accurate
than just one result, accurate or not.

The actual method of drying was also not the best way of ensuring
accuracy within the results. We used a rotating fan to dry the fabrics
that were pegged upon a straight length of string. Due to the fact the
fan was rotating, meant that some materials were getting more air than
others, thus drying quicker than the others. Some of the fabrics were
also closer to the fan so that could have affected the drying rate.
The improvement I suggest for the drying of the fabrics is another
method – whether that be a different fan that gives the fabrics equal
amounts of air or just letting the fabrics dry naturally for longer.
However, we are obviously restricted for time within a one-hour

With regards to the actual results, there can be some improvements
made. Firstly, There was not an even ratio of pale blue, to dark blue,
to brown fabrics. There were seven pale blue fabrics handed in and
eleven of the dark blue and brown ones. This could have affected the
results, particularly with the fact that the pale blue fabric
contained the best criteria for a backpacker’s towel.

Also, there were some blanks in the data which could have affected the
overall averages and results. To improve this, all data should be
collected and recorded and repeat readings would increase accuracy.


It can be said that the pale blue fabric would be
the material best suitable for a backpacker’s towel because it has a
high drying rate and a high absorbency. However this is only from one
experiment; this experiment, and so it may be found that if the same
experiment was done again, different outcomes would occur. So to
conclude, repeating the methods and the experiment, with all variables
checked will give more accuracy. Repetition is the key.
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