Solar4Scholars: Experiment in Energy Efficiency and Insulation
Insulation is an important part of energy efficiency, and finding out how well different forms of insulation can work can be important to understanding energy efficiency.
Energy efficiency is an important aspect of solar and renewable energy.
What you will need:
- Any number of insulating materials - these might include clothing, paper, foam, etc.
- Fiberglass insulation material (handle with gloves: it irritates skin!)
- Jars with lids: make sure all jars are the same size
- A tray to put the jars on
- A large jug or pitcher of hot water from the tap
- Digital Thermometer
- A small note book and a pen or pencil
Use the notebook to record materials used and observations.
Begin the experiment
- On a page in the notebook, list all of the different items you'll be testing.
- Record temperature of the water in the jug then fill each jar with water from the jug.
- Put lids on the jars.
- Insulate or wrap each of the jars in one of the insulating materials. One jar will be left uncovered as a "control."
- Put the jars in a cool environment such as your basement. A refrigerator may be used, but shorten your observation time to a shorter interval: between 20 and 30 minutes.
- After leaving the jars in a cool environment for a specific period of time, remove the insulating materials and unscrew lids. Measure the temperature of the water in each jar.
- Record the temperatures and compare the differences between them. Which materials kept the water temperature closest to the original temperature?
- You can try the experiment a number of different ways, with different lengths of time and different jar sizes. How do the temperatures change? How do the rates of insulation change? How long does it take before all the jars have reached the cooled temperature?
You will learn:
- What materials make good insulators, not only for houses but for people.
- Note how the fiberglass insulation compares to clothing.
- Note also how the different kinds of clothing compare to others.
- Which is better - wool socks or cotton?
- What is the difference between a coat and a T-shirt?