What Material does the Best Job of Keeping You Warm?

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Updated on Nov 21, 2012

Grade Level: 6th to 8th Type: Physical Science


This project determines which materials will insulate best.

Research Question:

  • What kind of clothes will keep you warmest this winter?


  • 2 glass bottles (identical)
  • Hot water
  • 2 thermometers
  • Plastic wrap
  • Wool socks
  • Cotton socks
  • Pen or pencil
  • Lab notebook

Experimental Procedure

  1. Begin by filling both bottles to the top with hot water. The next three steps will have to be done very quickly.
  2. Dry off the outside of each bottle, place a thermometer in the opening of each bottle, and seal the top of each bottle with plastic wrap.
  3. Cover one bottle with a wool sock. Leave the other bottle bare.
  4. When the temperature in each bottle stops rising, record the temperature of each bottle in your notebook.
  5. Record the temperatures of both bottles again in 30 minutes.
  6. Repeat the steps 1-5, but this time wet the wool sock before you place it over the bottle.
  7. Repeat steps 1-5 using a dry cotton sock.
  8. Repeat steps 1-5 using a wet cotton sock.
  9. Analyze your data. How did the insulating properties of the wool sock compare to the insulating properties of the cotton sock? How did the insulating properties of dry socks compare to the insulating properties of wet socks? Which sock retained the most heat? Record all of your information in your notebook.

Terms/Concepts: insulating properties


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