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Demonstration : thermal conductivity

Aim:


To demonstrate the ability of different substances to conduct heat.

Apparatus:


You will need two cups (made from the same material e.g. plastic); a metal spoon and a plastic spoon.

Method:

  • Pour boiling water into the two cups so that they are about half full.
  • At the same time, place a metal spoon into one cup and a plastic spoon in the other.
  • Note which spoon heats up more quickly

Be careful when working with boiling water and when you touch the spoons as you can easily burn yourself.

Results:


The metal spoon heats up faster than the plastic spoon. In other words, the metal conducts heat well, but the plastic does not.

Conclusion:

Metal is a good thermal conductor, while plastic is a poor thermal conductor. This explains why cooking pots are metal, but their handles are often plastic or wooden. The pot itself must be metal so that heat from the cooking surface can heat up the pot to cook the food inside it, but the handle is made from a poor thermal conductor so that the heat does not burn the hand of the person who is cooking.

An insulator is a material that does not allow a transfer of electricity or energy. Materials that are poor thermal conductors can also be described as being good thermal insulators.

Interesting fact

Water is a better thermal conductor than air and conducts heat away from the body about 20 times more efficiently than air. A person who is not wearing a wetsuit, will lose heat very quickly to the water around them and can be vulnerable to hypothermia (this is when the body temperature drops very low). Wetsuits help to preserve body heat by trapping a layer of water against the skin. This water is then warmed by body heat and acts as an insulator. Wetsuits are made out of closed-cell, foam neoprene. Neoprene is a synthetic rubber that contains small bubbles of nitrogen gas when made for use as wetsuit material. Nitrogen gas has very low thermal conductivity, so it does not allow heat from the body (or the water trapped between the body and the wetsuit) to be lost to the water outside of the wetsuit. In this way a person in a wetsuit is able to keep their body temperature much higher than they would otherwise.

Investigation : a closer look at thermal conductivity

Look at the table below, which shows the thermal conductivity of a number of different materials, and then answer the questions that follow. The higher the number in the second column, the better the material is at conducting heat (i.e. it is a good thermal conductor). Remember that a material that conducts heat efficiently, will also lose heat more quickly than an insulating material.

Material Thermal Conductivity ( W · m - 1 · K - 1 )
Silver 429
Stainless steel 16
Standard glass 1.05
Concrete 0.9 - 2
Red brick 0.69
Water 0.58
Snow 0.25 - 0.5
Wood 0.04 - 0.12
Polystyrene 0.03
Air 0.024

Use this information to answer the following questions:

  1. Name two materials that are good thermal conductors.
  2. Name two materials that are good insulators.
  3. Explain why:
    1. cooler boxes are often made of polystyrene
    2. homes that are made from wood need less internal heating during the winter months.
    3. igloos (homes made from snow) are so good at maintaining warm temperatures, even in freezing conditions.

Questions & Answers

Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
Renato
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
?
Kyle
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
Adin
why?
Adin
what school?
Kyle
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
Joe
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
research.net
kanaga
sciencedirect big data base
Ernesto
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
Bharti
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
Daniel
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
Maciej
characteristics of micro business
Abigail
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Anassong
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
NANO
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
s.
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
Tarell
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
Damian
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
Tarell
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
Virgil
is Bucky paper clear?
CYNTHIA
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
NANO
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Harper
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
s.
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
SUYASH Reply
for screen printed electrodes ?
SUYASH
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
Ebrahim
or in general
Ebrahim
in general
s.
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
tahir
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
Cied
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
Privacy Information Security Software Version 1.1a
Good
The fundamental frequency of a sonometer wire streached by a load of relative density 's'are n¹ and n² when the load is in air and completly immersed in water respectively then the lation n²/na is
Mukesh Reply
Properties of longitudinal waves
Sharoon Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Siyavula textbooks: grade 10 physical science [caps]. OpenStax CNX. Sep 30, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11305/1.7
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