Copper Cooking Pots - A Science Project
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Copper Cooking Pots

Saucepan

Because heat and electricity are closely related, copper is also a good conductor of heat. This is why good cooking pots often have copper bottoms. If you have any at home, try this experiment - boil the same amount of water in a saucepan with a copper bottom and one with a steel (iron) bottom. Which takes longer?

Check out whether copper is really a better conductor than other things are: put a piece of copper pipe into a pot of cold water along with other things like a wooden spoon, a steel spoon, a strip of aluminum foil, and a plastic serving spoon. Put a small dab of butter on the dry end of each object, and put the pot of water on the stove and heat it up. (To save energy, you can do this when you were going to cook dinner anyway).

Utensils
(Thanks to Myhomecooking.net)

As the things heat up, they'll eventually melt the butter. Which one do you think will heat up fastest? Why? Which one will be slowest? See if your predictions are right, and try to explain why you were right (or wrong).

Why do we use wooden spoons to stir our pots? Why not steel spoons or glass spoons? Why not plastic?

More about Copper
More chemistry projects

Bibliography and further reading:

Copper
Atoms
Chemistry
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Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
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