Natural Science

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Problem Statement

Which of the leading brand paper towels is more absorbent; Brawny, Bounty, Sparkle, or Scott?

Relevance of Testable Question

The relevance of this test question is to determine which brand of leading paper towels is the best most absorbent. Consumers want to use the product that is most effective at meeting their needs. A more expensive product may actually be more cost effective if you can use less of it than a brand that costs less.

Literature Review

Many experiments have been conducted to test the strength and absorbency of paper towels. While the steps of the experiment vary from test to test, all of experiments are testing the same two factors; how much water can each paper towel brand absorb and how strong are each of the paper towels. Below I have reviewed the process and results from three experiments that are similar to the one I will be using.

In the first experiment, the tester uses five brands of paper towels to test for absorbency, using paper towels of the same size to ensure the accuracy of the results. He draws a two inch circle in the center of a sheet of paper towel from each brand represented and placing the paper towel in an embroidery hoop to maintain stability. He then drops fifteen drops of water into the center of the circle draw on the paper towel, repeating the process for each brand, and measures the amount of time it takes the paper towel to wick the moisture outside of the circle. This test concludes that Bounty has the greatest absorbency.

The next experiment tests for both absorbency and strength. As in the first test, several different brands of paper towels were used. In this experiment, to test the absorbency, the tester takes a sheet of each of the towels an inserts it into a glass with two ounces of water and leaves each sit for twenty seconds. After the twenty seconds expired, the tester removed the paper towel from the glass and rang out each paper towel into a measuring cup to see how much water each towel had absorbed. The second part of the experiment is conducted by stretching sheets of each paper towel through an embroidery hoop, placing 25 pennies in the center of the paper towel, and adding water to the towel drop by drop until the pennies fall through. The strongest paper towel in this test was Brawny Brand.

The final experiment that I reviewed also tested for absorbency. The theory behind this experiment was the faster that water moves through the towel, the more absorbent it is. The experimenter cut strips from each paper towel, one inch wide and six inches long. A mark is drawn on each paper towel one inch from the end using a waterproof marker. The strip is then held in a glass of water with the bottom inch submerged, timing how long it takes for the water to travel the length of the strip. The process is then repeated for each brand that is being tested. The most absorbent brand in this test was Brawny.

Experimental Design

A. Steps in Experimental Procedure

The absorbency of the towels will be tested by the speed the water moves through the paper towels, the faster the water moves, the more absorbent the towel is. I will be using the following brands of paper towels in my experiment: Brawny, Bounty, Sparkle and Scott. Other supplies necessary to complete the experiment are: a waterproof marker, and a sixteen-ounce glass of water, and a timer that registers tenths of a second.

1. Prepare three samples of paper towel from each brand by cutting strips of each that is 2 inches wide and six inches long. 2. Using a water-proof marker, draw a line across each paper towel one inch from the bottom. 3. Fill a sixteen ounce glass with water and prepare timer. 4. Take the first strip of paper towel and submerge it up to the line in the glass of water while holding it vertical to the glass while starting the timer. 5. Allow the timer to run until the water is absorbed through the paper towel and...
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