Which Cup Best Prevents Ice from Melting?
Grade Level: 3rd to 5th; Type: Physical Science/Food Science
This project determines which type of cup is best for preventing ice from melting.
- Which material is best for preventing or lessening the melting of ice?
- Which type of material allows the least amount of temperature change?
- Which material serves as the best insulator?
The type of cup that you choose can greatly affect the life of your ice. Understanding how different materials act as insulators can help you make educated decisions in your choice of cups or coolers for transporting cold substances.
- Styrofoam, plastic and paper disposable cups of equal size
- Ice cubes
- Beaker/measuring cup
- Small colander
- Place three ice cubes in the Styrofoam cup.
- Allow the cup to sit at room temperature for twenty minutes.
- Place the colander over the beaker or measuring cup and pour in the cup contents. Only the water should fall into the measuring device. The ice should remain in the colander.
- Record the amount of water that was in the cup. Discard the cup contents.
- Repeat the same experiment using the paper and plastic cups. Be certain that all of your cups and all of your ice cubes are of a uniform size and shape. Using ice from trays or an icemaker allows for uniformity. Do not use crushed ice. Ensure that you place all of the cups in the same location at the same room temperature.
- Analyze your data. Which cup had the most water after twenty minutes? What is the relationship between the amount of water in the cup and the ice? Will the best insulator have more or less water than the other cups? Which cup material is best for preventing ice from melting?
Warning is hereby given that not all Project Ideas are appropriate for all individuals or in all circumstances. Implementation of any Science Project Idea should be undertaken only in appropriate settings and with appropriate parental or other supervision. Reading and following the safety precautions of all materials used in a project is the sole responsibility of each individual. For further information, consult your state’s handbook of Science Safety.