Don’t “get” Argon? This sixth-grader does!

Recently a middle school student named Abby from Florida competed in her school’s science fair.  Her experiment was to find out which gases insulated better than air. She also explored how this might be helpful for outdoor clothing companies and used Klymit as an example. Yes, Klymit has been hollering this concept since introducing Klymit NobleTek insulation last year.  Klymit  harnesses argon gas as the insulator in the Klymit Kinetic vest series. Basically, argon denies the transfer of heat away from your body, thus keeping you warm. 

Abby’s experiment set out to test a air, helium, argon, and krypton against each other to see which inert gas resisted the transfer of heat.  The project put heat lamps underneath four air-tight pillows filled with a different gas. Then Abby heated from below with a heat lamp and thermometer on top to read any increase in temperature.  Abby was able to tell  the amount of heat that escaped by the rise in temperature and was able to tell which gas insulated the best.

Results yielded krypton as the winner of the heat insulators with argon gas coming in second, helium third and air being the worst. Abby was pretty surprised by the results, since part of her test meant predicting the results ahead of time based on what she knew about science.  Her original hypothesis and theory stated: “If I measure the amount of heat escaped through each gas then Krypton will be the best insulator and Helium the worst because Krypton has the highest atomic weight and Helium the lowest.” So after Abby’s findings, she concluded that her hypothesis was off just a bit.  Air proved to be the best at letting heat transfer, meaning air was the poorest insulator.  She concluded that air includes moisture. Water in air allows for heat transfer quickly and easily and is not ideal for insulation and trapping heat.

Argon gas is so cool it’s even hot with the kids these days! And Abby’s experiment was so successful that she took FIRST PLACE for Middle School Chemistry at her school, and went on to take another FIRST at the Broward County Science Fair.  Now, Abby has been invited to compete at the Florida State Science Fair in Orlando in April.  Way to go, Abby!  Klymit is proud of you, and we’re excited to see how it goes at State!  Thanks for your interest in noble gases, and for doing such a noble job in helping others understand it.  Let us know when you’re ready for an internship!

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August 2010


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