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


The materials required for this science fair project are as follows:

-    6 conical flasks
-    6 corks, each large enough to close off the openings of the flasks
-    an electric drill
-    6 thermometers
-    a cotton scarf
-    a flannel scarf
-    a polyester scarf
-    a woolen scarf
-    a Gore-Tex jacket
-    a hot plate
-    tap water
-    a measuring cylinder
-    a clock


1.    For this experiment, the independent variable is the type of fabric used to insulate the flasks (air, cotton, flannel, polyester, wool or Gore-Tex). The dependent variable is the temperature of the water in the flasks. Measure this using a thermometer. The constants (control variables) are the size of the flasks, the amount of water in the flasks, and the temperature of the water in the flasks as well as the temperature of the air in the room.

2.    Use an electric drill to make holes in the center of 6 corks. These holes should be able to fit a thermometer. Insert 6 thermometers through the holes.

3.    Fill each of the 6 conical flasks with the same amount of tap water. Cover the opening of each flask using a cork that has a thermometer attached. Ensure that the thermometers are in the flasks. Adjust the thermometers so that their tips touch the water in the flasks.

4.    Place the 6 conical flasks on a hot plate and heat them until the water reaches 60°C.

5.    The first conical flask is to be the control. Do not cover it with fabric. Wrap the other 5 conical flasks with a cotton scarf, a flannel scarf, a polyester scarf, a woolen scarf and a Gore-Tex jacket.

6.    Start the clock. The first temperature measurement should be taken from the 6 thermometers and recorded in the table below. Check the temperature of the water in the flasks every 30 minutes for the next 2 hours and recorded this in the table below.

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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.