Science Fair Projects Report about Heat Retention (Thermodynamics)

Heat Retention Science Fair Projects Report - Thermodynamics

Read the science fair projects report about heat retention created by a high school student who won awards for his experiment.

CATEGORY: Consumer Science
GRADE LEVEL: 10th (High School)
STATE / Country: Michigan, USA
AWARDS:Honorable Mention of the Virtual Summer Science Fair Contest Super Science Fair Projects

My experiment is about comparing the specific heat of ingredients in a mixture. The experiment combines two liquids with different specific heats and analyzes the mixture. My experiment uses 2 thermometers and special equipment that are used for amateur lab studies. The goal of the experiment is to see if combining two liquids will produce another liquid that has a higher or lower specific heat.

Question: When combining two liquids with a high specific heat, does the resulting liquid have a higher, lower, or the average specific heat than either of the liquids that formed it?

Hypothesis: Science Fair Projects about Heat Retention
If two liquids are combined then the resulting liquids specific heat will be average of the two liquids.

The purpose of my experiment is to see if the specific heat of liquids depends on what it contains. I am doing this because keeping heat in foods and liquid is very important. If there is a basic liquid that can increase the specific heat of an object then it can help us in times of need.

Variable – The materials mixed (refer to #2 on procedure)

C1: The same amount of liquid used for mixing
C2: The same starting temperature for all of the mixtures.
C3: The same two thermometers used throughout the experiment.


  • Procedure – Science Fair Projects about Heat Retention:
    1. Collect all of the materials listed.

    2. Fill a containers with the any following materials
      – Water and Glycerin
      – Milk and Acetone
      – Acetone and Water
      – Water

    3. Stir the two liquids together with the plastic fork till both have mixed.
    4. Put 1/3 cup of each material you are mixing into to the empty tin container.
    5. Go to a safe area and turn the hot plate on.
    6. Put the container on the hot plate
    7. Put a thermometer inside the tin can
    8. Be careful when working with acetone and other hot materials safety precautions should be taken.
    9. Turn the hot plate on when the temperature of the Water is at room temperature.
    10. Take out a piece of paper and label each of your runs. Use this paper to record your temperatures.
    11. Start taking readings with the thermometer every 30 seconds. Be careful to watch the clock.
    12. Start the data collection as soon as the hot plate is turned on
    13. When the Temperature of the water reaches approximately 20 degrees higher than room temperature turn the stove off.
    14. Place the tin can somewhere else other than the stove (caution the in can is hot use Tongs)
    15. You should be taking readings every 30 seconds so wait until the mixture cools for about 15 minutes. Save your results
    16. Use Excel to type in your results to a computer. Use this to make graphs and analyze your results. Make sure you have someway to differentiate each test and the materials used.
    17. Repeat steps 1-14 as many times as needed to test all of the chemicals at least two times.
    18. Follow the same procedure but now using water (make sure you put 2/3 cup of water).
    19. We know the specific heat of water

    20. Use image of science fair projects about Science Fair Projects about Heat Retention  to find the heat added using the specific heat of water
    21. Using the formula, , find the specific heats of the mixtures.

    22. Compare your hypothesis with the results obtained.
    23. Get out a CBL and compatible calculator.
    24. Connect the two temperature probes to the CBL and link the calculator to the CBL.
    25. Turn on the Calculator and load Datamate software, prepare a run for data collection every minute for 40 minutes, using one probe, and collecting data every 30 seconds.
    26. Start the data collection.
    27. Put the temperature probes in the mixture and look on Datamate to see the Temperature of the probe probes.

  • Materials Used – Science Fair Projects about Liquid Heat:
    In order to conduct my experiment, I used the following materials:
    • A empty tin container NOT TO BE USED FOR COOKING AFTERWARD
    • One Vernier CBL compatible thermometers (I used stainless steel thermometers)
    • Thermometer
    • Paper
    • Pencil
    • Clock
    • Glycerin can be found at your local pharmacy as it is used for the ears.
    • Calculator
    • Acetone can be found at a hardware store as it is used for cleaning
    • Water
    • Plastic fork
    • Milk
    • tongs

    Science Fair Projects about Heat Retention – Mathematical Work / Conclusion
    With the equation added the heat energy put into the experiment is needed. To find the heat added we solve the equation
    Q=Heat added/Heat energy
    C=Specific heat of the water = 4.18
    M=Mass of the water=9 oz.
    △T=Change in temperature=(120-76)
    Heat added= 3,186
    Derived from the formula Q=9651 we can divided by Q and solve the equation for C.
    Formula for specific heat- C=Q/M△T

    To find the specific heats of the liquids we must solve
    C= Q/C△T

    For Water and Acetone
    △T =64


    For Milk and Acetone
    △T =52


    For Water and Glycerin
    <△T =128


  • Data – Science Fair Projects about Heat Retention:
    Water and Glycerin
    Min   |  Temp
      Milk and Acetone
    Min   |  Temp
      Acetone and Water
    Min   |  Temp
      30  |   78
      30   |   100
      30   |   100
      60   |   98
      60   |   116
      60   |   110
      90   |   100
      90   |   120
      90   |   120
      120   |   134
      120   |   135
      120   |   130
      150   |   162
      150   |   138
      150   |   140
      180   |   180
      180   |   136
      180   |   140
      210   |   172
      210   |   134
      210   |   135
      240   |   170
      240   |   132
      140   |   135
      270   |   166
      270   |   132
      270   |   132
      300   |   160
      300   |   130
      300   |   132
      330   |   154
      330   |   128
      330   |   130
      360   |   148
      360   |   128
      360   |   130
      390   |   144
      390   |   126
      390   |   128
      420   |   142
      420   |   124
      420   |   126
      450   |   140
      450   |   124
      450   |   126
      480   |   136
      480   |   122
      480   |   124
      510   |   134
      510   |   120
      510   |   124
      540   |   132
      540   |   120
      570   |   130
      570   |   118
      600   |  
      600   |   116
      630  |  
      630   |   116

    Click on image to enlarge
    image of forumla
    Series 1=Acetone and Water
    Series 2=Milk and Acetone
    Series 3=Glycerin and Water

    Conclusion – Science Fair Projects about Heat Retention:
    My hypothesis was proved wrong. By mixing two liquids together and averaging their specific heat. The average is not the specific heat of the mixture. Using the formula C=Q/C△T, were Q is the heat added, C is the specific heat, M being the mass and △T is the change in temperature. I found that when Water and Glycerin are mixed the resulting specific heat was 3.0 J/(kg•K). When Milk and Acetone were mixed the specific heat was 3.89 J/(kg•K). Finally, when Acetone and Water were mixed the specific heat turned out to be 4.14 J/(kg•K). With the specific heats of Milk being 3.93, Water being 4.28, Acetone being 2.13, and Glycerin being 2.43. By analyzing the data given. The mixtures showed no correlation between their ingredients and their mixtures.

    Scientific Research – Science Fair Projects about Heat Retention
    In my experiment I changed the specific heat of materials by adding them together. Specific heat is the joule per kilogram kelvin, J•kg-1•K-1 or J/(kg•K), which is the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one kilogram of the substance by one kelvin. Heat capacity can be measured by using calorimetry. (Refer to research for more info). The formula to find the heat added in any given situation or the specific heat is Q=CM△T. Were Q is the heat added, C is the specific heat, and △T is the change in temperature.

    What future questions can be asked when doing science fair projects about heat retention?
    ~What other chemicals help water retain its heat for longer?
    ~What properties of water can we change to make its heat retention longer?
    ~Does the density of the substance have anything to do with its heat retention?

    What I Would Do Differently:
    There are three changes I would make to my experiment if I were to do it again. To begin with, I would have a better way to calculate the temperature of the material. To do this I would attain a temperature probe that hooked into a computer to provide more accurate results. Secondly, I would do the experiment as many times as I could. I would heat up the materials and calculate my results about 20 or more times. This would give me more accurate results and more data to work with.

    Bibliography / References – Science Fair Projects about Heat Retention

    -“Specific Heat”, Winkipedia, 18:43, March 3 2006,

    -“Ask The Scientist” Newton, March 1 2006,

    -“Specific Heat”, Hyperphysics, February 22 2006,

    -Viegas, Jennifer- The Laws of Thermodynamics – An anthology of Current Thought, Rosen Pub Group – 08/01/2005

    -“Experiment to investigate cooling water”, Coursework. Info, February 23 2006

    -“Evaporating water” Oracle Education, Feb 28 2006,
    evaporating water

    -“Heat Retention” Oracle Education, March 2 2006,


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