Jump to main content

Polymer Permeability: Which Plastic Wrap Prevents Evaporation Best?

657 reviews


Areas of Science
Time Required
Long (2-4 weeks)
Material Availability
Some types of plastic wraps may need to be specially ordered. Various PVC wraps are available through Amazon.
*Note: For this science project you will need to develop your own experimental procedure. Use the information in the summary tab as a starting place. If you would like to discuss your ideas or need help troubleshooting, use the Ask An Expert forum. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions and offer guidance if you come to them with specific questions.

If you want a Project Idea with full instructions, please pick one without an asterisk (*) at the end of the title.


There are three different kinds of polymers used for kitchen plastic wrap: low density polyethylene (LDPE) (e.g., Handiwrap or Glad Wrap), polyvinyl chloride (PVC) (e.g., Reynolds PVC Foodservice Wrap or Boardwalk PVC Food Wrap Film) and polyvinylidene chloride (PVdC) (note: Saran Wrap used to be made with polyvinylidene chloride, but has switched to polyethylene. You will need to search for another brand that uses PVdC if you want to test it). Which of these materials is least permeable to water vapor? Or, in other words, which of these materials will best prevent evaporation? Do background research on these different polymer types in order to develop a hypothesis. Get samples of each type of plastic wrap, and use them to cover at least 9 identical drinking glasses (3 glasses for each wrap), each half-filled with water. Use a pair of scissors to cut the plastic wrap, so it does not get stretched. Carefully seal the wrap on top of each glass with a rubber band. Label the glasses so you know which type of plastic wrap is used on each. Mark the water level on each glass. Keep the glasses together, so they are exposed to the same conditions. Check and record the water level in the glasses at regular intervals. It may take a few weeks, but keep checking until you can prove either that there is or is not a difference in the rate of water loss between the different types of polymers. Do you think you would get the same results at a different temperature (say, in the refrigerator)? Can you think of other ways you might test the permeability of plastic wraps to water vapor? (Goodstein, 2004, 65-69)


Goodstein, M., 2004. Plastics and Polymers Science Fair Projects: Using Hair Gel, Soda Bottles, and Slimy Stuff. Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers.
icon scientific method

Ask an Expert

Do you have specific questions about your science project? 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:

Career Profile
Chemical engineers solve the problems that affect our everyday lives by applying the principles of chemistry. If you enjoy working in a chemistry laboratory and are interested in developing useful products for people, then a career as a chemical engineer might be in your future. Read more
Career Profile
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… Read more

News Feed on This Topic

, ,

Cite This Page

General citation information is provided here. Be sure to check the formatting, including capitalization, for the method you are using and update your citation, as needed.

MLA Style

Science Buddies Staff. "Polymer Permeability: Which Plastic Wrap Prevents Evaporation Best?" Science Buddies, 20 Nov. 2020, https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/Chem_p032/chemistry/which-plastic-wrap-prevents-evaporation-best. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

APA Style

Science Buddies Staff. (2020, November 20). Polymer Permeability: Which Plastic Wrap Prevents Evaporation Best? Retrieved from https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/Chem_p032/chemistry/which-plastic-wrap-prevents-evaporation-best

Last edit date: 2020-11-20
Free science fair projects.