# Thermal Insulation Materials

1386 Words6 Pages
Thermal Insulating Materials: A Self-Directed Experiment In our most recent lab, we determined the specific heat of a solid and learned the relative heat properties of substances having different specific heats. For this self-directed lab, we will determine what makes the best coffee-cup calorimeter and then determine which of various common substances is the best thermal insulating material is. We must first understand that thermal energy flows between two samples of matter at different temperatures. In order to prevent heat from escaping, thermal insulating materials are required to minimize the heat transfer by reducing the transfer of heat between two objects in direct contact, and the transfer of heat by electromagnetic waves. For this experiment we will be using cups of: metal, ceramic, plastic, and Styrofoam for our calorimeters. Our insulating materials will include: Styrofoam peanuts, paper towels, cloth towels, aluminum foil, or sea sand. With these materials, we will construct an insulated Dixie cup. The specific heats for the calorimeters follow: Metal: Pending Ceramic: 1063 J/kg C Plastic: 1.41 J/kg C Styrofoam: 1.3 J/kg C The lower the specific heat the less it takes to increase or decrease the temperature. I’m going to infer that Styrofoam will make the better calorimeter. For our insulator, Styrofoam will work better because it again has a lower specific heat capacity. Note, heat given off by a reaction in the coffee cup is absorbed by the water in the coffee cup therefore the heat capacity of a coffee cup calorimeter is that of water the water (q-reaction=m-water x C-water x (t,f-t,i). In order to determine the best calorimeter we must use the Calorimeter Constant: C-calorimeter= q-calorimeter/∆T This helps us determine the heat energy required to raise the temperature of the calorimeter by 1.00 C. For this experiment