Fabric Magic The insulating factors of different fabrics Ethan Strother Lopez Elementary
Purpose The purpose of my science fair project is to help people know what to wear on cold winter days. It is also used to inform manufacturers of what to put on the market. If I discover that the warmest of the fabrics is down, wool, leather, cotton, or fleece, it could possibly change the way people think and dress for the cold.
From the most common of fabrics which is the most insulating to the body on a cold day? Cotton, leather, wool, fleece, or down? Question How will different amounts of time in the cold affect the insulating factors of a certain fabric?
Project Overview The project is testing which fabric is the most insulating on humans. I became interested in this when I had no idea what to wear on one cold day. This experiment is very helpful for many people in the world who cannot afford many coats. This study will help them select the most insulating coat.
Heat • Everything is made up of atoms. Heat energy is created by particles bouncing into each other at a faster rate. Heat transfer is the process where one matter transfers internal energy to another matter. The hotter matter with more energy passes on the energy to the second matter, cooling the first matter off and warming the second matter up. The study of this is called Thermodynamics. This project deals mostly with the Zeroth Law: “When two systems are sitting in equilibrium with a third system, they are in thermal equilibrium with each other,” as stated by physics4kids.com. It means that that if two bricks are sitting in equilibrium in a freezer (third system), their heat energy must be equal, which we measure by temperature. The bricks will be the same temperature of their surroundings. If a brick is a higher temperature, then it will release the heat energy into the air to reach equilibrium with the air and environment around it. To stop this process an insulator can be used. An insulator is any type of material that blocks the release of thermal energy.
Fleece Polar fleece is a soft napped insulating synthetic man made fabric made from polythene terephalate or synthetic fibers. Polar fleece has very dense fibers which acts as a great insulator.
Cotton Cotton, from the plant genus gossypium, is a soft fluffy textile. It grows inside a boll, which is a protective capsule found around the seeds of cotton. The cotton plant is a shrub found in tropical and subtropical areas such as the Americas, Africa, India, and Pakistan. It is often spun into yarn or thread for soft, breathable textiles, and is a very common fabric used around the world still today.
Leather Leather is a strong and flexible material created by tanning an animal rawhide and skin, primarily cattle. It can be produced through different manufacturing processes, ranging from home based tanners to large scale heavy industry.
Wool Wool has several differences that make it unlike fur or human hair: it is crimped, it is elastic, and it grows in clusters. Wool is the textile fiber sheered from sheep and certain other animals, including cashmere from goats, mohair from goats, quiviut from muskoxen, vicuna, alpaca, and camel from animals in the camel family, and angora from rabbits.
Down Down is the fine fluffy layer of feathers found under the larger tougher feathers of certain types of birds. Only soft down feathers cover a young bird. Down is used as a thermal insulator and padding, such as in jackets, bedding, pillows and sleeping bags. Down has been found in amber dating back millennia, suggesting it has been used by humans for many centuries.
Variables • Controlled variables: 100 degree Fahrenheit start temperature in the bricks, temperature in freezer • Independent variable: fabrics, and time • Dependent variable: finishing temperature of bricks
Hypothesis I believe that the down will insulate a human the most because the fibers are layered very densely which makes more surface area to block the cold air. I believe the cotton and fleece will begin to freeze because the cold will already get through the fabric and will then start to freeze the fabric. The leather will not be able to let the cold air in because the fabric is so thick. The wool will probably have the same affect as the leather because it is also very thick.
Materials • 2 Bricks • Oven set at lowest setting - 170 degrees Fahrenheit • Thermometer • Cardboard box • Freezer set at 0 degrees Fahrenheit • 11 x 17 inch Baking sheet • Cotton sleeve 4 mm thick • Down sleeve 5 mm thick • Fleece sleeve 5 mm thick • Leather sleeve 4 mm thick • Wool sleeve 5 mm thick
Procedure Step 1: Drill holes in bricks with drill press. Step 2: Preheat oven to 170 degrees Fahrenheit. Step 3: Place brick on baking sheet. Step 4: Place baking sheet, with brick, into oven. Step 5: After ten minutes, take out baking sheet with brick. Step 6: Measure the temperature of the brick with a thermometer by putting it in the hole. Step 7: If the temperature is one hundred degrees Fahrenheit, place 100 degree naked brick in the freezer on top of a empty cardboard box. Step 8: Take out the naked brick from the freezer and set it down on a solid platform. Step 9: Measure the brick’s new temperature by placing a thermometer down the hole of the brick. Step 10:Record the newly discovered data. Step 11:Repeat steps 2-10 with a different material each time.
Data/Observations In my experiment I discovered that the down material insulated the human body the most. The cotton seemed to release heat at the fastest rate. The fleece sustained the heat of the brick very well but the fleece started to freeze because its fibers are very loose.
Results • The control brick, with no materials insulating it, lost ten degrees after ten minutes and another ten degrees after twenty. Twelve degrees were lost after thirty minutes. • Down lost the least amount of heat energy, only loosing one degree at the ten minute time, three degrees at the twenty minute time and after thirty minutes, had only lost four degrees. It was thicker than some of the materials by one millimeter, measuring five millimeters. • Wool and Fleece lost very similar heat energy in the time allotment. Both lost two degrees at ten minutes, wool four degrees at twenty minutes and fleece five degrees at twenty minutes. Wool lost a degree more at thirty minutes, loosing twelve degrees while fleece lost eleven during the same time. Both materials measured five millimeters. • Leather lost three degrees after ten minutes, eight degrees after twenty, and fourteen after thirty. Leather was slightly smaller than the top three materials, by a one millimeter, which seems negligible. • Cotton lost the most heat energy. Five degrees to begin with at ten minutes, a whole ten degrees at twenty minutes and sixteen after thirty. It measured closest to the control brick, that was not insulated.
Conclusion I discovered that the down insulated the human body the most, because the temperature of the brick dropped the least amount for all three time tests. The cotton material insulated the least, being the closest material to compare to the control brick.
Works Cited • “Clothing with a Difference.” Geoff Anders. http://www.geoffanderson.com/kat40-Softshell- jackets/side234-Boogie-Matrix-softshell.html • “Down Feathers.” Molecular Expressions. August 1, 2003, http://micro.magnet.fsu.edu/primer/techniques/phasegallery/downfeathers.html • "Insulator." Encyclopedia Britannica 2011. February 1 2011. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/289459/insulator> • Leather Research Laboratory. “Full Grain and Top Grain.” LEATHER RESEARCH LABORATORY. http://www.leatherusa.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3286 • Pehkonen, Marc. “Why do Natural Fibers Absorb?” Fuzbaby. January 25, 2001, http://www.fuzbaby.com/articles/diaper-article_natural-fibers-absorb.htm • Rader, Andrew. “Heat and Thermodynamics.” Physics4kids. http://www.physics4kids.com/files/thermo_transfer.html • “Textile” Wikipedia. January 9, 2011, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fabrics • Wilson, Janet. Classic and Modern Fabrics: A Complete Illustrated Source Book. Thames and Hudson, May 1, 2010.