Since I got my first Raspberry Pi, I have been struggling to find a simple science experiment that I could do around the house. I wanted to do something interesting, that used something I was familiar with. It also had to involve temperature since that was the only probe I owned at the time.
I have a glass beaker mug that I got from a conference. I don't remember the conference, but that was a highly coveted piece of swag from the exhibition floor, and I felt that I was luck to have it. As cool as it looks, it is the worst mug I own. Drinking coffee from that mug is like a drinking contest; it cools down so fast! So I decided to see what coffee mug acts as the best insulator.
This has all of the core components of a classic science fair project.
- Observation: My coffee gets cold too quickly in this mug.
- Hypothesis: I bet other mugs might be better.
- Experiment: I can measure the temperature of water as it cools down over a long period of time using a temperature probe.
- Heat 300mL of water (the beaker mug has graduation marks, so it isn't totally worthless) for 2 minutes in the microwave.
- Pour the hot water into the mug of choice.
- Stick in the temperature probe.
- Watch the temperature drop as it cools down.
- Conclusion: None yet, but my travel mug seems to be doing the best.
I am a little surprised by this. I thought my ceramic mugs were better than my glass mug. According to this, there is little to no difference.
I also leads me to other questions:
- Are there other better ceramic mugs in my house.
- Will a lid help?
- What about a travel mug without a lid?
- What is the optimal drinking temperature - the best mug should be there the longest?
It took most of Labor Day to collect this data, and I did most of it while I was doing other things. I have posted on the temperature probe before. Again, because the RPi is a dedicated computer, I can dedicate it to watching temperatures for a long time, and do some calculations with it.
I wish I were young enough to enter it in the Science Fair!