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A comparison of the thermal insulation properties of different clothing materialsFeatured science projectScience project video


This science fair project was conducted to compare the thermal insulation properties of clothes that are made of different materials (wool, cotton, polyester, flannel and Gore-Tex).


Of the five types of fabric, wool has the greatest heat-retention properties.

Scientific Terms

Thermal insulators, heat conductivity


The thermal insulation property of clothes

We wear clothes in order to keep ourselves warm when the weather is cold. When the weather is hot, clothes protect us from the harmful  ultraviolet rays which cause sun-burn and in cases of severe exposure, increase the risk of contracting skin cancer Clothes act as a protective outer layer for our skin: it protects us from insect bites, and lowers our chances of being injured. They also protect us from extreme weather conditions – snow, rain and strong winds.

Culture, nationality and the environment influence how individuals dress. Individuals’ status and personal preferences play a role too. Mankind has People have learned to dress in ways that suit environmental conditions. For example, tribes that live in hot African outbacks dress sparsely while individuals who live in cold climates (eg. eskimos) wear thick clothes that keep them warm.

Some countries experience the 4 seasons. It is important for individuals who reside in such countries to choose their clothes according to prevailing environmental conditions. During winter, they should wear cotton or woolen clothes because cotton and wool are poor heat conductors. Winter clothes keep us warm because the gaps in their fibers trap air, which acts as a thermal insulator. In general, clothes are made from both natural and synthetic fibers.

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Complexity level:
Project cost ($):
Time required:
It will take an hour to set up the experiment, and 2 hours to conduct it
Material availability:
The clothes can be purchased from a departmental store
Safety concerns:

Be careful when handling hot water. An adult is required for the operation of the drill.