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Slowing the melting rate of ice with reflective containersFeatured science projectScience project video

Abstract

Ever wondered if there's a cheap, and simple way to prevent ice from melting quickly? We know that using foam cooler boxes does the trick, but how about aluminum foil? This science fair project was conducted to determine if ice will melt more gradually in a reflective container. The test was done using containers covered with aluminum foil, white paper and a transparent container.

Hypothesis

Ice stored in a container covered with aluminum foil will melt at a slower rate.

Scientific Terms

Thermal insulation, reflective container, nylon lined fabrics, Styrofoam

Background

Keeping ice from melting

Is there an alternative to the foam cooler box?. There will be instances when we are out on a picnic or on an outdoor trip and we need something to keep our ice from melting - and what if we can't get hold of a cooler box? Although ice cannot be prevented from melting , there are ways to keep it frozen for just a little longer. Thermally insulated cooler boxes are pretty good for this. These containers prevent the transfer of heat from the inside of the container to the exterior and vice-versa. Ice buckets and Styrofoam boxes take advantage of this principle to keep ice from melting. Common thermal insulators include nylon lined fabrics, styrofoam and hard plastics.

But perhaps . keeping ice in light-colored containers or reflective containers might also help keep it  frozen. Theoretically, lighter colors and reflective surfaces absorb less radiation from the sun. This should mean that a smaller quantity of heat would be and therefore the ice should melt more gradually. As an alternative to reflective containers, perhaps the ice can be covered with aluminum foil to obtain similar results.
 

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Complexity level:
4
Project cost ($):
10
Time required:
1 hour to prepare, 5 hours for observation
Material availability:
Easily found
Safety concerns:

Basic safety requirements