An Insulation Experiment

Discover which insulator is the best for your house.


To see which is the best insulator whilst recording its temperature every four minutes.


  • 6 cans
  • newspaper
  • woolen cloth
  • cotton wool
  • foam
  • can holder
  • foam blister
  • 6 thermometers
  • hot water
  • a funnel
  • some milk cartons cut in half to hold the insulator with the cans.


  1. Put the can inside the cartons with the insulators.
  2. Fill the cans with hot water(300ml).
  3. Put the thermometers in each can and record their first temperatures.
  4. Keep recording a temperature every 4 minutes until u get to 24 minutes.
  5. Work out the temperature change.



Can covering

0 mins 4mins 8mins 12mins 16mins 20mins 24mins

Temp Change

None 59 55 53 51 50 49 48 11


57 56 55 54 53 52 51 6

Woolen Cloth

58 57 55 54 52 52 52 6

Cotton Wool

57 56 55 54 53 52 52 5

Foam Can Holder

55 54 53 52 50 50 49 6

Foam Blister

60 56 54 52 52 51 50 10


After the 24 minutes the can with no insulators got the lowest temperature of 48*C and the woolen cloth and cotton wool insulators got the highest of 52*C. We could have used something with a smaller area than a milk carton to keep the insulators packed together with the can.


The can with no insulator had the highest temperature change and the Cotton wool had the lowest.

A) Name 3 methods by which heat can be transferred.

Conduction, Convection, Radiation.

B) Which methods of heat transfer are reduced by the insulators used?

Conduction and Convection.

C) Why did one of the containers have no insulation?

To test if that will work.

D) When reading the thermometer, how did you reduce parallax error?

By looking straight ahead at where the alcohol line has stopped.

E) What was done to make sure that the comparison of materials was fair?

A milk carton was added so the materials will be squished together with the cans of hot water.

F) How could the experiment be improved?

By getting something with a smaller area than a milk carton to squash the cans and the insulators closer together.

G) If you were designing a house, which insulators you investigated would you put in the ceiling to reduce heat loss from the house?

I would choose the Cotton wool because it had the highest temperature after 24 minutes to keep the house warm and it had the lowest temperature change so it keeps my house warmer on cold nights.

Liked it
10 Responses to “An Insulation Experiment”
  1. me *** Says...

    On February 9, 2009 at 8:37 am

    thx 4 the info helped in science project!!

  2. NO NAME Says...

    On February 9, 2009 at 8:40 am


  3. ---------------------------------------------- Says...

    On February 9, 2009 at 8:42 am


  4. nosheena Says...

    On February 9, 2009 at 8:44 am

    i thought it was fantastic.
    i enjoyed searching on this web

  5. amy Says...

    On May 5, 2009 at 12:35 am

    can u use ice instead…….. do u have one with ice

  6. fullysickmuzza Says...

    On January 7, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    yes amy you could use ice and no sorry i dont have an experiment with ice. and NO NAME you have to use cans because it is more enclosed than a beaker.

  7. Kirk Says...

    On February 17, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    what are the manipulated,control and responding variables used??

  8. Anonymous Says...

    On January 18, 2012 at 8:48 am


  9. Tony Says...

    On April 24, 2012 at 12:17 am

    Didn’t help at all was quite useless

  10. fullysickmuzza Says...

    On June 18, 2012 at 3:03 am

    Sorry Tony, I did this experiment when I was in year 7 so its just a beginners experiment report. I’m currently in year 12 and so when i’m finished this year, i’ll be putting up some more complex practical experiments for both chemistry and physics.

Post Comment
comments powered by Disqus