Access to cooking pots made of different materials.
Low ($20 - $50)
Minor injury possible. Always exercise caution when using a stove. Adult supervision is required. Make sure that the cooking pots you have chosen to test are designed for stovetop use.
*Note: This is an abbreviated Project Idea, without notes to start your background research, a specific list of materials, or a procedure for how to do the experiment. You can identify abbreviated Project Ideas by the asterisk at the end of the title. If you want a Project Idea with full instructions, please pick one without an asterisk.
What is cooking? Cooking is applying heat to food in order to help make it taste good. But the decision to cook your food doesn't end there. Do you want to cook it at a low temperature for a long time or do you want to apply high heat and cook or sear it right away? You might think that a pot is just something in which to cook your food, but it is also a cooking tool. Pots and pans are made from different kinds of materials, such as aluminum, stainless steel, iron, and ceramics. Each of these materials transfers heat differently. In this cooking and food science fair project, you will determine which material transfers heat the fastest. Try different kinds of pots to see which kind boils water the fastest or use a kitchen thermometer to find out which delivers the highest temperature after 10 minutes. You can also test and see how long the hot water stays hot in the pot. After doing this science fair project, you'll be the expert and can help your parents make cooking decisions, like the best pot to cook stew in or the best pan in which to sear meats.
The Ask an Expert Forum is intended to be a place where students can go to find answers to science questions that they have been unable to find using other resources. If you have specific questions about your science fair project or science fair, our team of volunteer scientists can help. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions, offer guidance, and help you troubleshoot.
If you like this project, you might enjoy exploring these related careers:
Materials Scientist and Engineer
What makes it possible to create high-technology objects like computers and sports gear? It's the materials inside those products. Materials scientists and engineers develop materials, like metals, ceramics, polymers, and composites, that other engineers need for their designs. Materials scientists and engineers think atomically (meaning they understand things at the nanoscale level), but they design microscopically (at the level of a microscope), and their materials are used macroscopically (at the level the eye can see). From heat shields in space, prosthetic limbs, semiconductors, and sunscreens to snowboards, race cars, hard drives, and baking dishes, materials scientists and engineers make the materials that make life better.
Food Scientist or Technologist
There is a fraction of the world's population that doesn't have enough to eat or doesn't have access to food that is nutritionally rich. Food scientists or technologists work to find new sources of food that have the right nutrition levels and that are safe for human consumption. In fact, our nation's food supply depends on food scientists and technologists that test and develop foods that meet and exceed government food safety standards. If you are interested in combining biology, chemistry, and the knowledge that you are helping people, then a career as a food scientist or technologist could be a great choice for you!
Food Science Technician
Good taste, texture, quality, and safety are all very important in the food industry. Food science technicians test and catalog the physical and chemical properties of food to help ensure these aspects.
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