The Mummy's Tomb - Cooling the Mummy's Tomb
Guess What?

The Pharaoh has asked your help to design a better tomb. Seems he's concerned about the Sun's heat having less than positive effects on his body during his stay in the Hall of Judgment.

You have decided to see if insulation, materials that restrict the flow of heat, will help keep the tomb cool. But the Pharaoh is stingy. Before any changes are made to the tomb, he wants to be certain that he's not wasting his precious gold to buy insulation that's not needed.

What you'll need:

6 Styrofoam cups and 3 lids

3 thermometers

water

ice

1000 ml beaker

What to do:

1. Make a prediction – which cup will stay cool longest?

2. Mix 500 ml of water with enough ice to lower the temperature to 10°C (about 200 ml of ice).

3. Make a hole in the cup lids so that you can put a thermometer in the cup and still read it without removing it from the water. (Why do you think this is important?)

4. Place one cup inside another cup so you have a double insulated cup (Cup 2). Repeat the process and construct a triple insulated cup (Cup 3). Cup one is just that--one cup!

5. Carefully measure and add 150 ml of the COLD water to each set-up. Put the lids on the cups and carefully slide the thermometers into the cold water. Record the temperature of the water right away.

6. Wait one minute, and then record the new temperature in each set of cups. Record the data in your laboratory notebook. It might help if you arranged the time and temperature in a table.

7. Continue recording data every five minutes for 20 minutes or until the water temperature is about equal to air temperature.

8. Calculate and record the change in temperature for each set-up.

So what?

Study your data and decide which set-up kept the water cool the longest. Was there a big difference between set-up 1 and 2? Between 1 and 3? Between 2 and 3?
Now what?

What are you going to recommend to the Pharaoh?

How is home insulation like the foam cups you used in the experiment? (Hint: Is there such a thing as too much insulation?)


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