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Keeping it chillFeatured science projectScience project video

Abstract

This science fair project was conducted to compare the effectiveness of various types of food wrappers in keeping food chilled. The science fair project was done by using aluminum foil and plastic food wrap and observing how long each type of insulation could keep a bottle of water cold.

Hypothesis

Aluminum foil will be more effective in keeping the bottle of water cold for a longer period of time.
 

Scientific Terms

Thermal insulation, heat conduction, electrical conductivity

Background

Aluminum foil

Aluminum foil is essentially thin sheets of aluminium metal, generally less than 0.2mm thick. They are easily folded and wrapped around objects of any shape and size, making them useful in food packaging, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and chemical products. Aluminum foil also acts as a barrier to light, oxygen, flavor, odor, bacteria and moisture. Long-life packaging that is used to package drinks and dairy products stored without refrigeration also make use of aluminum foil.

Aluminum foil is also used in cooking. It is used to wrap delicate and moisture sensitive foods like vegetables and mushrooms for barbecues. Aluminum foil helps to retain moisture and hence vegetables and mushrooms will have more appealing texture when wrapped in aluminum foil before they being cooked.  Aluminum foil is also widely used to wrap leftovers, to help preserve the food.

In addition to the above, aluminum foil is also widely used for insulation, i.e. for thermal insulation, heat conduction and electrical conductivity.

Plastic wrap

Plastic wrap is a thin film of plastic that is sometimes used to wrap and seal food items in a container in order for the food to be kept fresh for a longer period of time. The plastic film is approximately about 0.01mm thick and it can cling onto a smooth surface without the use of any adhesive. Plastic wrap is very useful for storing fresh vegetables, cut fruits and meat products which may otherwise lose their moisture and become dry if stored without sealing.
 

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Complexity level:
4
Project cost ($):
20
Time required:
1 hour to prepare, 2 hours to perform the science project experiment
Material availability:
Very easily found. You will be able to find most of your materials at a local grocery store/supermarket. If you can't find conical flasks, you can improvise and use 3 large identical mugs
Safety concerns:

Basic safety requirements