By GERRI MCDONALD
Special to Atmore News
In every store, big or small, there are numerous brands of paper towels available, each claiming to be the best, the most absorbent or the cheapest. How do we prove or disprove these claims? How do we work out which paper towels are truly great and which are almost entirely useless?
We have all seen advertisements where two brands of paper towels are compared by observing how quickly or thoroughly they suck up a mysterious blue liquid or by wiping up some muddy footprints from their kitchen floor.
This, as we know, is not very scientific – there are no figures, no proof and little truth. Perdido Elementary students in Mrs. Jill Jones science class decided to put the towels to the test and find out just which brand came out on top.
The first step for the students was to write down their prior knowledge about paper towels. They then discussed as a group what the purpose of their experiment was going to be. Next, each student wrote what their hypothesis would be and how they could test that hypothesis.
Each group tested four popular brands of paper towels. Each brand was tested for exactly 20 seconds, with a total of five trials for each. Bounty paper towels came out on top and Mardi Gras finished last in this test with all groups.
Method: Paper Towel Experiment
1. Fill the beaker with exactly 200 ml of water
2. Take a single sheet of the first brand of towel
3. Fold and insert into the water – as you dip the towel into the water, start your stopwatch
4. After 20 seconds, remove the towel from the beaker and squeeze as much water as you can out of the towel into the graduated cylinder using the funnel. Make a note of the volume extracted.
5. Repeat five times for each brand and note the results in your data table. You must make sure that each sheet is folded in exactly the same way for the experiment to be constant and correct.
6. Write down the results for each brand on your lab sheet.
Each group worked out an average for each result and wrote down their results in a table.
They then plotted all of their results onto a simple bar graph, which allowed them to show which brand of paper towel was the most absorbent and which was truly awful.