Thermal Conductivity Resources

Ice Cutter Experiment

Abstract

Graphene is an individual layer of a honeycomb lattice of carbon atoms which makes up graphite and is used for a variety of purposes including electronics, semiconductors and batteries. Its presence is known in these industries due to it having a thermal conductivity constant (k), which is a measure of how fast heat is transferred, of near 1000 W/m*K. Other materials such as cardboard and plastic do not find themselves in these industries due to there lower thermal conductivity constant of around 0.1 W/m*K and 0.2 W/m*K

Hypothesis

Graphite will transfer significantly more heat over time from your hand to the ice and thus cut through ice significantly faster when compared to cardboard or plastic.

Materials

  • Thin piece of Graphite (can be purchased on ebay for less than $15 or contact us for a free sample of graphite sheet)
  • Thin Piece of cardboard
  • Thin piece of plastic
  • Ice (3 cubes)
  • Stopwatch

Procedure

  1. Place an ice cube on a flat surface
  2. Hold a piece of graphite with your bare hand and gently place the thinnest portion of graphite sheet on the ice without any pressure
  3. Record the time required for the graphene to pass through the Ice cube
  4. Repeat step 2 and 3 for both Cardboard and Plastic

Observation

Graphite sheet should cut through the ice almost instantaneously whereas the cardboard and plastic do not cut through the ice as readily. Image

Thermal Conductivity Blog Ice Cutting Experiment Pic

Explanation

Graphite sheet has a thermal conductivity constant around 10,000 to 5,000 times higher than cardboard and plastic. Therefore, Graphene will transfer significantly more heat over time from a source of heat (your hand) to the ice as compared to cardboard and plastic. Cardboard and plastic do not have such a high thermal conductivity constant and will require more time to transfer the heat from your hand to the ice.

Conclusion

It can be concluded from this experiment that graphite sheets are a significantly higher thermal conductor when compared to both cardboard and plastic.

Learn more about Graphite Sheets:

To obtain your own graphite: