The Mummy's Tomb - Cooling the Mummy's Tomb

Guess What?

The Pharaoh has asked your help to design a better tomb. Seems he's concerned about the Sun's heat having less than positive effects on his body before he journeys to that land beyond the Sun.

You have decided to see if insulation, materials that restrict the flow of heat, will help keep the tomb cool. But the Pharaoh is stingy. Before any changes are made to the tomb, he wants to be certain that he's not wasting his precious gold to buy insulation that's not needed.

What you'll need:

6 Styrofoam cups and 3 lids

3 thermometers


hot plate

1000 ml beaker


What to do:

1. Using a hot plate or other device, heat 500 ml of water to 50 degrees C.

2. While the water is heating, make a hole in the cup lids so that you can put a thermometer in the cup and still read it without removing it from the water. (Why is this important?)

3. Place one cup inside another cup so you have a double insulated cup (Cup 2). Repeat the process and construct a triple insulated cup (Cup 3). Cup one is just that--one cup!

4. Carefully measure and add 150 ml of the HOT water to each set-up. Put the lids on the cups and carefully slide the thermometers into the hot water.

5. Wait one minute, then record the temperature in each set of cups. Record the data in your laboratory notebook. You might want to use a table.

6. Continue recording data every five minutes for 20 minutes or until the water temperature is about equal to air temperature.

7. Calculate and record the change in temperature for each set-up.

So what?

Study your data and decide which set-up conserved the most heat. Was there a big difference between set-up 1 and 2? Between 1 and 3? Between 2 and 3?

Now what?

What are you going to recommend to the Pharaoh?

How is home insulation like the foam cups you used in the experiment? (Hint: Is there such a thing as too much insulation?)

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