(Playing with steam.)
I don’t know what I was thinking, because we hosted a dinner party for twenty relatives this weekend, but in the midst of all of this also begin our new investigation on Heat, taken from Science Without A Net. Our topics for today were insulation and conduction.
We began this by talking about insulation and the pumpkin I was cooking for dinner. How long would it take to cook? Would it cook faster in a casserole dish? Why don’t people cook things in pumpkins all the time?
Next, we began our official experiment on conduction using three knives, three pats of butter, and a bowl of hot water. Unfortunately, the experiment did not work at all! The butter didn’t melt, even after ten minutes. Was the water not hot enough? Was the knife too long? Did the fact that the knife was stainless steel make a difference? Were the pats of butter too big? We decided to try again, this time with spoons.
This time we did the experiment with a stainless steel spoon, a sterling silver spoon, and a plastic spoon. We used hotter water and smaller pats of butter.
After just a minute, the butter in the silver spoon started melting!
A few minutes later, the butter on the stainless steel spoon was melting too. Metal seems to be a good conductor of heat, but some types of metal conduct heat better than others.
In the midst of all of this Jenna(2) lost interest and started rearranging the dining room table that I had just set for company. When I went outside to cut flowers for the center piece I found a bunch of Indian corn in my boot. Then when I came back into the house I discovered she had ripped the cushions off of all of the bar stools, and was dumping punch into a water glass. While I was cleaning that up, Bruce started drinking the melted butter. It’s like living with mischievous elves…