Science Fun

Polar Bear Blubber

polar-bear-animation

Materials:

  • 2 gallon sized zipper lock bags
  • 4 tablespoons of shortening
  • duct tape
  • ice (crushed/cubed)
  • 1 gallon bucket

Instructions:

  1. Fill bucket halfway with the cold water.
  2. Add enough ice to make water chilly.
  3. Add 4 tablespoons of shortening in one of the ziploc bags.
  4. Put empty ziploc bag inside of the ziploc bag with shortening in it. Put your hand in the empty ziploc bag, this way your hand stays clean during the experiment.
  5. With other hand spread shortening all over the outside of the inner bag.
  6. Now fold the top of the inner ziploc bag over the top of the outer ziploc bag. Now the shortening is stuck between the two bags. To make sure the shortening stays secure duct tape this fold.
  7. Finally, stick your hand in to the into your new blubber glove and dip it into the bucket of ice cold water.

How it Works:

Shortening is a fat just like blubber is, and fat acts like an insulator. An insulator stops energy from flowing the way that it usually does, from things that are hot to things that are not. So the body heat that polar bears create is trying to flow from the body to the outside chilly temperatures, but because of the flubber, it stops it from escaping.

Extra Experiments:

  1. Try to use other types of insulators such as butter, cotton balls, or sand. Which one works as the best insulator?
  2. Try using one hand in the glove and the other had in the water. Make observations using touch describe how it feels.
  3. Try using room temperature water or water that is 100 degrees Fahrenheit (Be careful with hot water when you are testing it). Does the glove work in these situations?