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2013 Science Fair - Sam Mikula

Cold Cheese or Mold Cheese?
by

Samantha Mikula

on 10 January 2013

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Transcript of 2013 Science Fair - Sam Mikula

Topic Explanation: I chose this topic because I had already done a similar experiment, when I was doing the Scientific Investigation. That past experiment was really fun, and I hope this one will be too. Sam Mikula
8th Grade
Mrs. Allmon Cold cheese or mold cheese?
What keeps things colder – plastic wrap or aluminum foil? The purpose of my experiment is not only a school project, but also a way to provide a guideline for people storing cheese after opening it, and cheese factories to explain to people the best way to store it after opening.
In my experiment, my main question I’m trying to answer is, “what keeps cheese colder – plastic wrap or aluminum foil?” Purpose If plastic wrap is used as an insulator instead of aluminum foil, then it will do a better job of keeping cheese cold because it doesn’t conduct heat as well as aluminum.
Based on my research, plastic wrap is opaque to heat while aluminum foil absorbs it. Therefore, I think the outcome of the experiment will end up being the same for both cheeses; plastic wrap will keep them colder. Hypothesis Ethel Tiersky. “What’s better for wrapping food - plastic wrap or aluminum foil?" Shelf Life Advice., 25 Jan., 2011. Web. 16 Nov. 2012.

I learned that when wrapping food in aluminum foil, use the nonstick type. When wrapping food in plastic wrap, be sure to expect your food to be nice and cold. Background Research David Free, John Free. "Re: What keeps things colder - plastic wrap or aluminum foil?" MadSci Network: Physics. 8 Nov. 2006. Web. 16 Nov 2012.

From this website, I learned that no matter what container you put the food in, whether or not it will stay cold all depends on the temperature of your house. Aluminum reflects heat, while plastic is opaque to it. Background Research “What keeps things colder- plastic wrap or aluminum foil?” Yahoo Answers., 2005. Web. 16 Nov. 2012.
I learned from this website that aluminum is an excellent conductor of heat, therefore it will attract heat from the outside into the item on the inside. Although, plastic is a terrible conductor of heat so it will keep things colder. Background Research “Cheese” The Chef’s Wife., 2012. Web. 16 Nov. 2012.
I learned from this website that the longer you keep cheese in out (tightly wrapped as to not cause mold growth) then the sharper the taste becomes. Proper use of cheese should be kept at 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Background Research Jake Lahne. “How to wrap and store cheese” Serious Eats., 2 Feb., 2010. Web. 16 Nov. 2012.
I learned from this website that you can’t ever store cheese in direct contact with plastic, or wrap it too tightly. There are three reasons to this – one, because wrapping too tightly causes bacteria growth; two, because it could lose its natural scent; and three, because the cheese could absorb the plastic and its chemicals causing possible poisoning. Background Research What are the variables in my experiment?
A constant is the item kept the same throughout the whole experiment. My constant would be the temperature I kept my house at.
A dependent variable is the item that may change. In my case, that would be the outcome of the cheese staying cold or staying warm in each container.
An independent variable is the factor that I change. I would change the type of cheese getting tested, and the type of material being wrapped around the cheese. Experimental Design Countertop
Plastic Wrap – 2 pieces
Aluminum Foil – 2 pieces
American Cheese – 2 oz.
Provolone Cheese – 2 oz.
Thermometer
Stopwatch
Pen & Paper Materials 1. Take the 2 oz of each cheese (Mozzarella & White Cheddar ) and split them into 1 oz, so you have 4 samples of cheese.
2. Measure the starting temperatures of each type of cheese, and the room temperature. Record them on your piece of paper.
3. Take a piece of aluminum foil and wrap it around 1 oz of the Mozzarella cheese.
4. Take the other piece of aluminum foil and wrap it around 1 oz of the White Cheddar cheese.
5. Repeat steps 3-4, using plastic wrap to wrap around the remaining cheese.
6. Place all four wrapped cheeses on the counter 2 inches apart. Then, start the timer as to leaving the cheese sit for 15 minutes.
7. When the timer goes off, gently unwrap each cheese, and measure the temperature of every one of them. Record the temperature for the first 15 minutes.
8. Repeat steps 6-7 three times, to have a total of 1 hour.
9. When completed, record which insulator kept the cheese nice and cold. Procedure Data Analysis In the first half hour, the aluminum foil kept the cheese cooler than the plastic wrap. After the half hour mark, however, there was no difference in either one keeping it colder than the other.
There was an approximate 6 degrees Celsius difference between the temperature of the cheese wrapped in foil, and the temperature of the cheese wrapped in plastic wrap during the first half hour.
My purpose was to provide a guideline for people storing cheese after opening it, and for cheese factories to explain to people the best way to store cheese after opening. The results showed that aluminum foil will keep your food slightly colder than plastic wrap for a short period of time. Results In my experiment, my major result was that the aluminum foil kept the cheese slightly cooler than the plastic wrap. During the first half hour, I noticed that the thermometer was going down every time I measured the cheese in the aluminum foil. However, when I checked the cheese in the foil at the 45 minute mark, the temperature stayed the same, causing the cheese not to be colder than the cheese in the plastic wrap. They were the same temperature.
My results did not support my hypothesis. My hypothesis was that if plastic wrap is used as an insulator instead of aluminum foil, then it will do a better job of keeping cheese cold because it doesn’t conduct heat as well as aluminum. It didn’t support my hypothesis because my result was that both insulators kept both cheeses the same temperature.
My research, in the end, stated that the plastic wrap would keep the cheese colder than aluminum would because it doesn’t attract heat. My results were way off compared to my research, though. This is probably because my research was mainly focused on placing the cheese in the fridge, while I had already planned to place the cheese on the counter.
There may have been some errors that impacted my results. For example, my thermometer could’ve read wrong, when the temperature was really something else. Another example is that I could’ve waited to long to check the cheese after the 15 minute mark. Improvement could be used in some areas, like checking the cheese AS the timer goes off, and double checking the temperature again with a different, more accurate thermometer.
There are always more options out there as to doing a further study. One may be to use different insulators, or different types of cheese. Another could be to use a high tech fridge, or placing the cheese outside. Finally, one could even leave the cheese unwrapped and simply see if they stay cold. There are so many options! Conclusions Ethel Tiersky. “What’s better for wrapping food - plastic wrap or aluminum foil?" Shelf Life Advice., 25 Jan., 2011. Web. 16 Nov. 2012.
David Free, John Free. "Re: What keeps things colder - plastic wrap or aluminum foil?" MadSci Network: Physics. 8 Nov. 2006. Web. 16 Nov 2012.
“What keeps things colder- plastic wrap or aluminum foil?” Yahoo Answers., 2005. Web. 16 Nov. 2012.
“What keeps things colder- plastic wrap or aluminum foil?” Yahoo Answers., 2005. Web. 16 Nov. 2012.
“Cheese” The Chef’s Wife., 2012. Web. 16 Nov. 2012. Bibliography
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