University Of Michigan- Dearborn
Question: Which paper towel absorbs water the most?
Personal Relevancy and Description of subject area: Paper towels are very useful when it comes to cleaning up spills. In addition, paper towels can be used to dry hands, wipe tables, and etc. (Paper towels) There are so many uses for paper towels that Americans last year “spent nearly $2.3 billion on paper towels” (Wilbert, 2003). The reason why Americans prefer paper towels than cloth towels is because they can be thrown away, unfortunately “sending 3000 tons of paper towels to landfills each day” (Wilbert, 2003). Imagine how many trees were cut down to meet consumer needs. According to the Business and the Environment, “270,000,000 trees are flushed down or thrown into the garbage” (2006).
As a teacher, I want to teach my students to be more eco-friendly and to save money. Students have a tendency to overuse paper towels and waste not only money spent on paper towels, but also trees that were cut down to make paper towels. I want to show them how much paper towels they really need by doing an experiment of which paper towel absorbs water the most. Also, this experiment will show them that the most absorbent paper towel will hold enough water without over using it in a minor spill.
Hypothesis: Bounty paper towels will absorb more volume of water, then other brands of paper towels in a time frame on one minute.
Three different types of 27.9x22.3 cm paper towel sheets will be tested Dependent Variable:
Measure 100 ml of water absorbed in paper towel for 1 minute Controlled Variables:
Amount of time that each paper towel will be placed in the water Amount of water put on each paper towel
Controlled how I measured the water
Controlled how I drained the water
Controlled where I placed the paper towel in the pan of water Controlled the way I picked up paper towel
3 sheets of Viva (White Big Roll) paper towel
3 sheets of Bounty (Basic White) paper towel
3 sheets of Magic Soft paper towel
8 x 11 inch glass pan
Ruler (a metric ruler)
1 clear plastic beaker (Make sure you can fill it up with 100 ml of water.) 1 test tube (Make sure it can fill up to 50 ml of water)
Water (900 ml of water)
Writing Utensil to record data (Pencil or Pen)
Notepad to record observations
Wash Towel (Any wash cloth would do)
1. Since all three paper towels will vary in size, cut Viva and Bounty to match Magic Soft sheet size since it has the shortest sheet size. When stacking them all together, make sure that Magic Soft is on top of the other two paper towels so you have a guide for cutting the sheet. Using a ruler, measure Bounty and Viva to make sure they are 27.9x22.3 cm.
2. Pour 100 ml of water into the pan.
3. Start by Placing the Bounty paper towel in the middle of the pan and gently with your fingers soak the paper towel in so the entire sheet can absorb the water. 4. Time it for one minute and record what you see happening to the wet paper towel. 5. During this time, place the funnel on top of the plastic test tube. 6. When one minute has passed, using your hands, pick up the paper towel by one of the corners touching the smallest amount possible and slowly move to the top of the funnel and gently squeeze the water out enough without ripping the paper towel. 7. Record how much water was absorbed in the paper towel by looking directly at the measurements on the test tube and what you saw.
8. Empty the water out of the test tube and pan, and completely dry it out with a wash cloth.
9. Repeat this experiment two more times so you have three sets of data. 10. Repeat steps 2-8 for the Magic Soft and Viva paper towels.