Saved science fair projects:

This is a saved copy of the relevant third party website. We save only the first page of every project because we've found that the third party sites are often temporarily down. We do not save all pages of the project because copyright belongs to the third party author.


The Effect of Different Types of Insualtion on Heat Retention

Researched by Danny W. 



The purpose of this experiment was to find out the effect of different types of insulation on heat retention.

This idea interested me when I heard about the person who built his house out of straw bales.  I started wondering why he built it that way. 

The information from this experiment may be used by builders to determine what to choose for insulation.  It also may be used in future houses because not all societies have the wealth to manufacture insulation artificially. 

Back to Top 


My hypothesis is that sand will retain more heat than straw, sand, paper, cloth’ batting.

I base my hypothesis on personal observations that in a basement, the temperature will stay warmer even though heat rises because dirt or sand is around the basement walls. 

Back to Top 


The constants in this study were: 
* The size of the test box. 
* The amount of water. 
* The size of the beaker. 
* The temperature when put inside the refrigerator. 
* The space used for insulation. 
* The type of wood used for the test box.

The manipulated variable was the different types of insulation. 

The responding variable was the temperature loss of the water in the beaker. 

To measure the responding variable I will use a Celsius thermometer. 

Back to Top 


1 1000ml. beaker
1 bottle of  wood glue
1 Celsius thermometer
500ml boiling water
1 sheet of ply wood 122 cm x 122 cm x 6 cm
2 wood blocks 4 cm x 4 cm x 9 cm
1 wood block 4 cm x 4 cm x 6.5 cm 
878.85 gm  straw
2494.8 gm   cloth
765.45 gm  paper 
 595.35 gm Batting insulation
 22680 gm sand

Back to Top 


1. Build the outside test box. 
1) Cut one piece of plywood 29 cm square for the bottom of the test box. 
2) Cut four pieces of plywood 29.5 cm long and 20.5 cm wide for the sides of the test box. 
3) Cut two pieces of wood 4 cm x 4 cm x 9 cm for the inner box stands. 
4) Glue and nail the four side pieces of plywood to the bottom piece of plywood. 
5) Glue and nail the two stands inside the test box in the middle with a 3 cm space between them. 
2. Build the inside test box (the box that will contain the 1000 ml beaker. 
1) Cut one piece of plywood 15 cm square for the bottom of the test box. 
2) Cut four pieces of plywood 15.5 cm square for the sides of the test box. 
3) Glue and nail the four side pieces of plywood to the bottom piece of plywood. 
3. Build the lid for the outside test box. 
1) Cut one piece of plywood 29 cm square for the bottom of the lid. 
2) Cut four pieces of plywood 29.5 cm long and 7.5 wide for the sides of the lid. 
3) Cut one piece of wood 4 cm x 4 cm x 6.5 cm for the thermometer access hole. 
4) Glue and nail the four side pieces of plywood to the bottom piece of plywood. 
5) Glue the piece of wood for the access hole in the center of the inside of the lid. 
6) Drill a 1 cm hole through the lid and the access wood piece. 
4. Put a layer of the test insulator into the bottom of the larger outside box.  Include material between the two stands. 
5. Put the inner box on the stands that are in the larger outside box. 
6. Fill the spaces between the inner box and the outside box with the insulator. 
7. Fill the lid with the same insulator used in the test box. 
8. Leave box and lid outside refrigerator to obtain room temperature. 
9. Heat water on a stove to the a temperature of 100 degrees Celsius. 
10.   Placed the test boxes (outside test box with inside test box and insulator) into the refrigerator. 
11.   Quickly filled the beaker with 500 ml of boiling water and placed beaker of water into the inner box. 
12.   Placed the lid onto the top of the outside box and began test. 
13.   Test water temp every hour. 
1) Open refrigerator and slide the Celsius thermometer through the access hole into the water. 
2) Wait approximately one minute. 
3) Check the temperature reading on the Celsius thermometer and record the information. 
14.   Continue performing temperature readings for 8 hours. 
15. Repeat steps 4-14 for each insulator material.  (No material, Straw, Cloth, Paper, Batting, Sand).

Back to Top 


The original purpose of this experiment was to determine effect of different types of insulation on heat retention. 

The results of the experiment were batting insulation retain heat better  than  the  other insulation materials.  The insulator with the lowest temperature was the shredded paper. 


Back to Top 


My hypothesis was that sand would increase the heat retention because of its high density. 

The results indicate that this hypothesis should be rejected. 

Because of the results of this experiment, I wonder if the outside temperature effects the temperature of the water inside the model house. 

If I were to conduct this project again I would have a better research report.  I would also have more trials so I can be more accurate in my results.  
My tests will go for a longer period of time and I will concentrate on making my experiment more accurate by making more water measurements 

Back to Top 


People in cold climates need insulation.  They need insulation so they don’t have to pay as much for energy because the insulation helps to keep heat in their home. 

Insulation or insulators are substances that are used to keep heat inside something.  Insulation also keeps sound from getting out too.  The five insulators mostly used are batts and blankets, loose fill cellular plastics, rigid boards, and reflective insulation.  Insulation is mostly used in houses.  

Sand consists of quartz grains derived from the weathering of granite or other types of rocks.  Sand is used for making Chemicals and glass.  Some ore valuable deposits are found in conjunction with sand deposits. 

 Straw is made from stems that are dried such as wheat, rye, oats, barley.  Straw is used for many different ways.  It’s used for animal bedding by farmers.  Manufactures make hats, baskets, and paper out of the straw.  Straw is different than hay because hay is dried grass or other plants that is used to feed animals. 

Paper is usually made of cellulose fibers from plants.  Sometimes made from cloths or other materials.  Paper has advantages for insulating.  It has its high thermal resistance.  Paper is also better in air infiltration.  This means that it doesn’t let as much air go through the insulation, which would make the insulation less effective.  

 The batts are made to fit between the studs and joists in the walls, ceiling, and floor of a house.  Batts are usually made of fiber glass and rock wool which is made of rock and recycled material from steel waste mills.  

 Heat always flows to cooler places by means of Conduction, Convection, and Radiation.  Conduction is heat moving through a material carrying nothing.  Convection is the transfer of heat by the movement of a heated material.  This also occurs in water.  During Conduction and Convection, particles that are moving transmit heat.  This is called Radiation.  

 In the insulation areas, there are barriers that block moisture from getting to the insulation.  These barriers are called vapor barriers.  Vapor barriers are usually made up of plastics or metal foil.  The vapor barriers keep the moisture from getting to the insulation because the moisture ruins the effectiveness of the insulation.  The moisture can get to the insulation by warming up and turning into warm humid air and then it gets to the insulating places in the walls. Then the area cools and condenses to moisture again.  

 As you can see insulation is important because if people didn’t have it they would  have to spend more money on the energy to keep warm.  It would also pollute the world more because of the amount of energy being used.  Therefore insulation is very important to us. 

Back to Top


Cezairliyan, Ared."Heat"The World Book Encyclopedia.1995.vol.9

"Cellulose Insulation"[Online]Available February 3, 1999

"Energy Savers: Insulation And Weatherization Body"[Online]Available February 3, 1999

"Insulation Facts/Vapor Barriers and Ventilation"[Online]Available http// November 24,1999

Mc Elroy, David L."Insuation"The World Book Encyclopedia.1995.vol.10

Meinert, David L. Energy Conservation.NewYork:Vantage Press inc.

"Paper" Academic American Encyclopedia.1998.vol.15

Petti, F.J."Sand"Academic American Encyclopedia.1998.vol.17

Remde, Harry F."Heat Insulation"Science and Technology.1997.vol.8

Seigler, David S."Straw"The World Book Encyclopedia.1999.vol.18 

Stover, H.T."Thermal Insulation".Encyclopedia America.1999.vol.10 

Top of page

Menu of 1999-2000 Science Projects

Back to the Selah Homepage



Search for more science fair projects
Search science fair projects Browse science fair projects
or Ask the Mad Scientist for help with your Science Project

All Science Fair Projects