Materials List: Heat Flow and Diagrams Lab

Each group needs:

  • 1 sheet of paper
  • art supplies such as markers, colored pencils, paint, scissors, construction paper, glue; help students be creative by giving them several options of visual art supplies to use in making their diagrams
  • 1 sheet of aluminum foil
  • 1 sheet stainless steel shim stock of .025 mm (.001 inch) thickness, such 10 sheets from; see note below
  • meter stick
  • stopwatch
  • thermocouple, such as the Digi-Sense Calibrated Remote-Monitoring Thermocouple at
  • Principles and Elements of Design Handout one per person; students should already have this as a handout from the associated lesson
  • Diagram Grading Rubric one per person

To share with the entire class:

Note about heaters: The type of heater to use is largely dependent on your budget. Look for RTD and thermistors, with the main idea to look for high thermal conductivity and small size, and that it reaches temperatures of ~100 °F. Also, it must be about a 3:1 ratio of the size of the metal sheet to the size of the heater. Any larger and the metal gives off the heat to the air before it heats up.

Note about metal sheets: For the metal sheets, any two different materials (such as the suggested foil and steel) will work, but choose materials that have large differences in thermal conductivity, at least 100 W/mk, which can be found by searching for "thermal conductivity of common materials" in a search engine. They also need to be small in size; otherwise they serve as a heat spreader and never rise high enough in temperature for students to measure. For this lab, aluminum foil and steel shim stock of approximately equal thicknesses work well.