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Nihal Nazeem

Mr. Williams
STEM 6°/7°
2/8/17

Materials Heat Testing Lab Analysis

Of the twenty materials tested, “felt” was omitted due to nonconventional usage in
housing, and its impracticality, as “plywood” was asterisked for being an unverifiable element in
the data. The rest of the eighteen materials were categorized according to their potential usage in
a house, such as “Flooring”, “Roofing”, “Exterior Wall”, “Ceiling/Interior Wall”, “Window”,
and “Insulation”, and were graphed as follows:
What the graphs above represent are how different materials react under 125 Watt heat
lamps, for a total of 10 minutes. More specifically, the material’s increase in temperature, within
a set time, translates to a low specific heat capacity. What the specific heat capacity informs us,
is about the quality of how well a material can hold and release heat. The steeper the graphs are,
the more heat the material is holding. Since the amount of time is the same for all graphs, the
steepness, or slope of the graph in a positive direction, can tell us about the varying levels of the
low heat capacity. The steeper the slope of the graph in a positive direction, the lower heat
capacity the material has. Or in other words, the steeper the graph in a positive direction, the less
able the material is to retain higher temperatures. Within the experiment, there were key issues
that need to be addressed. The three main errors that need to be taken account of for this
experiment were the inconsistencies in measuring the temperature of the materials, the exclusion
of measuring a cooling temperature and time for the materials, and the varying initial
temperatures of the first element that was tested. When discussing the inconsistencies in the
measurement of temperature, this is inclusive of the area where the temperature was measured,
which could make certain areas of the material have different temperatures, and the varying
surface areas and volumes of the materials, which makes it so that the temperature measured is
not the center of the object, but the middle of the surface are of the object. The second issue was
the exclusion of cooling data. This was taken under the risky assumption that the heating rate of
a material is proportional to the the cooling rate, or that the heat intake of a material is
proportional to its heat release. The cooling rate would have been valuable data that could be
used as a further qualifier for classifying the materials to their potential use in a home. The third
of the three main issues with this experiment was the variation of the initial temperature, more
specifically addressing the copper tube temperatures for the insulation, and not having the heat
lamps warm-up before testing the first element. Without establishing a common initial
temperature, the observations from the data could lead to misleading information. The more
variables there are, that are not controlled, the more variation there could be in the data obtained.
Some improvements to this lab, in addition to fixing the previously mentioned flaws with the lab,
could include longer time intervals, and testing insulation in an airtight container. By including a
longer time domain, with more frequent measuring intervals, the data we have can be more
accurate, and be more representative of the reality of a house under an average of 12-hour
daylight.​1 ​ By testing insulation materials in an airtight container, the heat can be more retained,
and not be influenced by air pockets that could affect the inner temperature of the box, allowing
for more accurate results. Although testing for the heat capacity for construction materials is
important information, further possible investigations are needed to better understand which
materials would be ideal for certain aspects of a house. For instance, this could lead to material
stability tests, for finding which materials have durability and hold structural integrity, weather
tests, specifically against moisture and water, and making a heat material house model akin to
the daylighting model.
1​
http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/Dur_OneYear.php
Materials Heat Testing Lab Conclusion

In this experiment, we discovered that hardwood is the best material for flooring for its
consistent, yet low specific heat capacity. The way this was determined was by testing several
materials under a 125 Watt heat lamp, which was 40 cm away, from the face of the material to
the heat lamp’s socket, for 10 minutes, on a piece of cardboard, for a temperature check-in
interval of five minutes. Looking at the data from the graphs above, it is clear that hardwood has
the middle temperature, not being too hot, like tile, or too cold, like bamboo and stone. Also the
steepness of hardwood’s line shows us that the change in temperature is more consistent, and
does not seem to level like stone, bamboo, and carpet. Although stone has the most consistent
slope with a change of about 8°C from the 0 minute point to the 5 minute point to the final
temperature. The final temperature of stone (38°C), in comparison to hardwood (64.2°C), is
colder than hardwood, because the change in temperature for hardwood from the 0 minute point
to the 5 minute point to the final temperature, was about 10°C, thus making hardwood better for
heat retention, making the interior of the house warmer. The steepness of hardwood’s line also
shows that the material has a low specific heat capacity, but relative to the other flooring
materials, it is the median, making it so that the floor is not too hot or too cold. The reason why a
warm floor matters is because most people expect a warm floor to walk on, for comfort. The
reason why hardwood is the best flooring material is because, it is the relative median of the
flooring materials, has a relatively low heat capacity, allowing it to retain more heat, but not be
too hot, or too cold, and the general trend at which the line of hardwood goes is pretty consistent,
and the heat it retains for that consistency is warm enough for comfort, and heating the interior of
the house.