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Thermal Conductivity Essay Sample

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Introduction of TOPIC


For the good thermal conductor we will have to identify which of the four sample materials is the best thermal conductor in the experiment. The experiment will test how long it will take the specific sample material to heat which will be discovered by a nail with jelly on it, it will be stuck on the opposite end to which is being heated. When the nail falls off the time will be stopped we’ll do this three times for accurateness and take the overall average.

The four sample materials we will use are:

* Copper

* Brass

* Glass

* Mild-steel

For the good insulator we will identify which of the two materials is the best thermal insulator (something that is not able to conduct thermal energy), we will discover this by surrounding one copper breaker in cotton wool and another in felt. Then put boiling water in each then watch and record the temperature every minute for twenty minutes. The breaker that drops in temperature the quickest is the best insulator and the worst conductor of thermal energy.

Safety Point

1. Do not muck around.

2. Remove blazer and tuck in tie.

3. Do not touch sample material after its been under the flame.

4. Do not play with equipment.

5. Concentration on your work and not chatting about what you done last night

Section 1 Good Thermal Conductor


I know some metals are already good conductors of heat and that they have very high melting point plus the higher the temperature the better the thermal conductor. Copper seems good to me because its used in industry as you well know copper is used for piping in houses for hot water to travel to the taps, losing little as possible the amount of heat.

I know that atoms in copper are in straight line and are neatly positioned into a regular order that of which makes it the best thermal conductor.

So with that in mind I believe that copper will be the best thermal conductor out of the four choices I have.

So therefore my prediction is that copper will be the best thermal conductor.


1. Collect 1 clamp stand, 1 stopwatch, some jelly, one each sample material, 1 nail and a Bunsen burner.

2. Setup clamp stand, place one of the sample materials in the clamp and close in tightly.

3. Place the Bunsen burner to one of the clamp stand.

4. Put the nail in some jelly and place onto the sample material that of which is at the opposite end to the Bunsen burner.

5. Alight the Bunsen burner and start the stopwatch.

6. Record the time for each of the sample materials do it three times for accurateness, and then take the average.


The results are as follows:


Test 1 time(mins/secs)

Test 2 time(mins/secs)

Test 3 time(mins/secs)

Average time(mins/secs)

















These results obliviously show that copper is the best sample material thermal conductor of all of the sample materials, and no necessary modifications or adaptations were made.


I encounter one problem only, as we were testing the sample material glass it melted before the nail fell off the opposite end so we had to do the test again to acquire a result. I concluded to myself that the reason for the melting of the sample material glass must have an irregular pattern of atoms so that the gaps in between the atoms could absorb the energy/heat making the heat pass very slowly through the glass and this is why it melted before the nail fell off.

The reliability of this was very accurate because we tested each of the sample materials three for preci

sion and the equipment didn’t affect the results in anyway possible but the person controlling

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the stopwatch must start and the stop the stopwatch as accurate as humanly possible otherwise we’ll get incorrect results.

Obviously there are weaknesses in all work, and my weakness was the glass melting before the nail off the opposite end to overcome the glitch we started the glass test again for the result. Yet the strengths were the certainly concentration was a big strength but the best strength of all was teamwork and that no mistakes were blamed on a single it was a group responsibility.

I wouldn’t really drastically changed my experiment layout not many problems occurred during the whole experiment, so I would only tactical one area of the experiment that’s the glitch with the glass, but theoretically that wasn’t are fault and so I would have to consult a Scientific based teacher.

Section 2 Good Insulators


Insulators are materials that can be heated, but don’t sustain any of the provided by the boiled water in the copper breaker with all this information; my thoughts lead me to believe

* That felt will be the material that will lose the heat faster.

* Initially cotton wool will be the fastest to lose heat.


1. Collect two copper breakers, some felt and cotton wool, lids for each of the breakers, two thermometers, stopwatch and a kettle with water in it.

2. Surround one of copper breakers in cotton wool and the other in felt.

3. Boil the kettle and pour the boiling water in to each of the copper breakers and put the lids on.

4. Put the thermometer in each of the copper breakers through the hole in the top of the lid.

5. Record the temperature every minute for twenty minutes.


The results are as follows:


Cotton wool temperature(degrees Celsuis)

Felt temperature(degrees Celsius)






























































I have proved my hypothesis that,

Felt will drop the faster in temperature, proof of this is stated above in the results, both the graph and the table.

And I also proved that cotton wool will drop in temperature quicker than felt initially also proved by the results.

I encountered no problems during the experiment and this gave experiment maximum reliable so that the readings would be correct and get me a good line graph.

The readings were taken accurately on the approximate minute, and the only error possible is human error when the specific person reads the thermometer wrong or reads it to early.

The strengths to my experiment were that the experiment was carefully thought out before we arrived to the lesson to do the experiment so there was no fuss or hassle trying to get on the computers to find instructions. Yet the weaknesses to my experiment are starting the felt insulator after the cotton wool insulator experiment.

To keep the experiment a fair test I compared my results with another group to see if we were on the right track and the results were approximately the same and we discuss the method of doing the experiment.

So I wouldn’t change anything of my experiment because I think it went very well!

Implication to Industry

Thermal Conductivity in Industry

This theme addresses the industrial need for national standards for the thermophysical properties of materials and products, including thermal conductivity, diffusivity, and emissivity. These standards play a vital role in a wide range of industries, impacting on quality, safety, energy efficiency and the design of new and competitive products that meet the latest EU standards and regulations.

Thermal measurement and validation of insulation and building elements is essential for quality and performance assurance in the building and construction industry and to reduce noxious emissions from fossil fuel burning and to improve building interior environments. EC directives, CEN standards and national building regulations are continuing to drive thermal performance standards forward. As new CEN and other standards come into existence international equivalence is needed to be demonstrated through formal collaborations and intercomparisons. Furthermore, providing measurement traceability, whether for independent industrial research or UKAS test and measurement laboratories, is essential to ensure the continuing quality, assurance and competitiveness of UK industry.

High temperature thermophysical properties, e.g. thermal conductivity, diffusivity, emissivity, specific heat and expansivity, are vital to the engineering and materials processing sectors, indeed, to all industries that depend on materials behaviour at elevated temperatures. The diffusivity standard provides measurement traceability over a large range of property values, material types and temperatures (which is often convenient for precious or small material samples), it supports the top level conductivity standard in extending the temperature range above 1000 & degrees, and it allows thermal performance evaluation during transient heat-flow. These thermal conductivity standards extend NMS capability to cover, for example, metals, alloys, ceramics, polymers and so on, the ‘bedrock’ engineering materials.

Emissivity is one of the most important thermophysical properties, affecting all high temperature industries. Emissivity data is vital for modelling thermal radiant heat transfer or for non-contact temperature measurement with pyrometers and radiation thermometers, for example where remote temperature measurement or monitoring is required.

This theme also covers the development of standards for newly emerging trends, including the requirement for the measurement of thermal diffusivity and emissivity of molten metals, the thermal conductivity of powders, sludges and slurries and the need for qualified thermophysical property data of key industrial materials.

The main technical objectives of the ‘Thermophysical Properties’ projects are described briefly below.

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