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An Insulated Cola Bottle

Experiment #12 from Physical Science with Vernier


Insulation slows the flow of heat. Glass, plastics such as Styrofoam, wool, fiber glass, aluminum foil, air, and a vacuum are some of the many “materials” used for heat insulation. Homes and insulated devices, such as vacuum bottles and coolers, often use a combination of insulating materials. In this experiment, you will first study the heat insulation properties of some materials. Then you will compete with your classmates in an attempt to build the best insulated cola bottle.


In this experiment, you will

  • Investigate the insulating properties of aluminum foil, paper (cardboard), and plastic (Styrofoam).
  • Use a computer to measure temperatures.
  • Determine change in temperature, Δt.
  • Make a bar graph of the Δt values.
  • Compare the effectiveness of different insulation materials.
  • Build a well-insulated cola bottle.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following sensors and equipment. Additional equipment may be required.

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This experiment is #12 of Physical Science with Vernier. The experiment in the book includes student instructions as well as instructor information for set up, helpful hints, and sample graphs and data.

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