heat insulation

Heat insulation

A temperature sensor can be used to study the insulating properties of different materials. Two temperature sensors allow a simultaneous comparison to be made. In this experiment two beakers of hot water are insulated with different materials and allowed to cool. As they do so a cooling curve is plotted. The experiment could be repeated to see the effect of wrapping things in aluminium foil.


Beakers, clamps to hold the probes, stands, hot water, insulating materials, fabric and aluminium foil, interface and Temperature sensors.

Setting up

Connect temperature sensors to sockets 1 and 2 on the interface. Wrap one beaker with fabric.

Some systems recognise the sensors you attach automatically, in others you do this yourself. If the sensors are adjustable, set them on a 0-100°C range.

Recording the data

Record for 15 minutes. Pour equal amounts of hot water into each beaker.

Repeat the experiment using loose aluminium foil instead of insulator.

Using the results

How does the graph tell you that the water is getting cooler?

How can you tell which of the beakers is getting cool fastest?

When will the insulated beaker reach the same temperature as the uninsulated one?

What does the graph tell you about the effect of insulation?

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