Were human beings able to cook water before we found how come make metal cookware? Absolutely. We’ve to be boiling water in large, cup-shaped pipeline for thousands of years! We’re able to pull this off since of a process called conduction, whereby warmth is conducted away indigenous the leaf and into the water. Do you think it’s possible to accomplish the same thing v a document cup?


Is it possible to boil water in a file cup? Why or why not?


Several plain file cups—most room coated v wax, but try to discover the uncoated kindSeveral Styrofoam cupsWaterStove burnerDry sandTongsLarge cabbage (optional)


Turn the burner on medium heat.Fill a file cup virtually to the brim through water.Using tongs, hold the cup of water about six inches over the heater element.Continue holding the cup end the heat. The paper or burn, or the water will boil. Record your observations. How have the right to you explain what you saw happen?


Fill another file cup v sand.Repeat procedures 3 and also 4 with the cup filled with sand and also record your observations. Did the cup filled through sand produce a various result? If so, why?Fill the Styrofoam cup v water.Repeat actions 3 and also 4 with the Styrofoam cup and record your observations.

You are watching: Boiling water in a paper cup

Extra: Repeat measures 3 and 4 v a big cabbage leaf filled through water. What happens?


Boiling water in a file cup isn't as tough as it looks! If you organized the cup in ~ an proper distance from the flame, the water in the document should have ultimately boiled. The circular in salt on the bottom may have burned. If your paper cup had actually a waxy coating, the wax may have actually melted off. The paper cup through sand will burn slightly. The Styrofoam cup will disintegrate.


Water draws warm away indigenous a heat resource through convection till it will its boiling point of 100 degrees Celsius. The temperature that the water continues to be fairly constant once the starts boiling—in fact, liquid water is incapable of getting hotter till it’s every turned come steam. Most species of file burn at 233 levels Celsius (or 451 levels Fahrenheit). As the water heats up, the conducts warm away from the paper, preventing the file from getting to that vital temperature. Heat also continues escaping via the vapor that’s created when water boils.

Sand likewise has the capacity to conduct warm away native the paper, yet it likewise has the potential to gain a whole lot hotter 보다 water. Eventually, the temperature that the sand climbs previous 100 degrees Celsius, and once the temperature ideologies 233 levels Celsius, the paper will burn.

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Styrofoam is an insulator, making it an extremely poor in ~ conducting heat. Heat can’t pass on v to the water, so the Styrofoam disintegrates.

Now walk ahead and also bet a girlfriend or family members member the you have the right to boil water in a Styrofoam cup. Then perform it! Here's how:

Find a clean, dried rock small enough come fit in the cup without touching the sides.Fill the Styrofoam cup about two-thirds full of water.Using tongs, host the rock straight over the flame until the rock glows orange.Using tongs, immerse the rock into the cup without letting it touch the sides of the cup. The water in the cup will boil.
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