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It’s the moment every parent dreads – you’re going about your day when your child mentions that he or she has to do a science project. If you’re one of the lucky ones, your kid will let it slip a few days after it was assigned. But if you’re like most parents, you’ll find out about it the night before it’s due. Either way, we’ve got you covered with a few science fair project ideas to make sure your child scores a top grade (or at least stays out of summer school). Best of all, these science experiments for kids can be completed with common household items you most likely already have on hand.

Testing the Strength of Paper Towels

If you find yourself short on time, testing which paper towel brand is the strongest, makes for a simple yet fun paper towel science project.

Time Needed: 2 Hours

Materials Needed:

An assortment of supplies to test paper towel strength: Bounty paper towel roll, three generic paper towel rolls, coins, water jug, container, note pad and graph paper

1 roll of Bounty paper towels 3 rolls of paper towels made by 3 separate brands. 1 large plastic tub 2 cups of water Notebook or journal Graph paper 125 quarters A partner

  • Detach one towel from each roll of paper towels and label each one with the corresponding brand’s name.

One sheet of Bounty paper towel alongside three sheets of generic paper towels laid out, labeled by brand

  • Have the partner hold one of the detached sheets over the plastic tub.

Hands holding a Bounty paper towel sheet over a plastic tub

  • Pour exactly ½ a cup of water onto the paper towel.

A hand pouring water onto a Bounty sheet being held above a plastic tub

  • Place the quarters (one at a time) onto the paper towel until it breaks.

A hand placing quarters on top of a wet Bounty paper towel held above a plastic tub

  • Record the results of which paper towel is the strongest.

A notebook recording the results of each papaer towel brand

  • Repeat steps 1 through 5 for each brand of paper towels.
  • Create a graph to illustrate the results.

A graph showing paper towel brands and number of quarters each sheet could hold

Paper Towel Absorbency Experiment

If you liked the previous idea, but don’t have over thirty dollars in quarters laying around the house, your child can always test what brand of paper towel is most absorbent.

An assortment of supplies to test paper towel absorbency: Bounty paper towel roll, three generic paper towel rolls, coins, water jug, container, note pad and graph paper

1 roll of Bounty paper towels 3 rolls of paper towels made by 3 separate brands. 1 cup of water An even wooden or plastic table Notebook or journal Graph paper

Under your supervision, have your child complete the following steps:

  • Tear off one towel from each roll of paper towels and label each one with the corresponding brand’s name.

A sheet of Bounty paper towel next to three sheets of different paper towel brands

  • Pour the water onto the table in four different sections. Each section should contain exactly ¼ of a cup of water. (Make sure to give yourself some room, sothe pools of water don’t overlap.)

Pouring 1/4 cup of water onto a table

  • Place one paper towel over one pool of water.

A sheet of paper towel absorbing water spill on table

  • Wait ten seconds.
  • Remove the paper towel, and record your findings of the paper towel absorbency in the notebook.
  • Repeat steps 3 through 5 for each paper towel brand.
  • Create a graph to illustrate the results of which paper towel absorbs the most water.

A bar graph showing the amount of water absorbed by each paper towel brand

Seed Germination with Paper Towels

Supposing your child has a few days to complete the project, a seed germination experiment is relatively hassle-free, and usually goes over well with teachers and students alike. It’s a great paper towel science fair project because it only takes a few minutes to prepare. However, it does take a few days for the seeds to grow.

An assortment of supplies for seed germination experiment: a Bounty paper towel roll, plates, three cups, potting soil, water, note pad, graph paper

3 plastic cups Bounty paper towels (Bounty is highly absorbent, so results should be seen faster) 3 plastic (or regular) plates 1 gallon of distilled water Potting soil Journal or notebook 6 bean seeds (Bean seeds are pretty big, sprout quickly and are easy to work with) Graph paper

  • Place the soil into the plastic cups.

Hand pouring soil into three cups

  • Plant a bean about ¼ inch deep in each cup containing the soil.

A finger pushing 1/4 deep through a cup of soil

  • Take three sheets of Bounty paper towels and fold each in half.

Three sheets of Bounty paper towel folded in half

  • Place each of the remaining seeds inside its own folded paper towel, then place each of the paper towels on its own plate.

Seeds inserted inside three folded sheets of Bounty paper towel and placed on plates

  • Water the paper towels and soil cups until wet (not soaking) and place all the seeds in a warm, dark room.

Water poured onto a folded paper towel sheet on a plate

  • Monitor the seeds daily and water the soil cups or wet the paper towels again when they start to dry out.

An illustration of an eye watching water pouring onto a folded paper towel on a plate

  • Note which seeds germinated when, and chart your results on graph paper. Explain which process worked better, and which seeds produced the longest, thickest sprouts.

Paper Towels Color Bridge

Paper Towel Color BridgeHere’s an idea with lots of color and wow factor. Best of all, it’s fairly simple, quick and inexpensive.

Supplies needed to make a paper towel bridge: Roll of Bounty paper towel, three clear plastic cups, measuring cup, silver spoon, yellow and blue food coloring

3 clear plastic cups 2 cups of water Yellow food coloring Blue food coloring Spoon 1 roll of Bounty paper towels (Using Bounty will cut down on the time it takes to see results. The channels in the towels will dispense water faster than other brands.) Under your supervision, have your child complete the following steps:

  • Fill two of the cups with 1 cup of water each.

Pouring water from a measuring cup into two cups clear plastic cups

  • Add yellow food coloring to one and the blue to the other.

Two cups of water and a hand dropping food coloring into each

  • Stir (remember to clean the spoon so you won't mix the colors).

A hand mixing colored dye into a cup of water

  • Arrange the cups so that the empty cup is in the middle.

An empty cup in the middle of two cups of water: one with blue food coloring and one with yellow food coloring

  • Tear off paper towels and roll them into tight tubes.

Two rolled up sheets of Bounty paper towel

  • Stick one end of each into one of the colored waters, and the other end into the empty middle cup.

A cup of blue liquid, an empty cup, a cup of yellow liquid. The ends of two rolled up Bounty paper towels are folded into each cups, connecting them like an arched bridge

  • Observe the colored water as it travels up the paper towel.
  • Document your findings.

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Science project, paper towel science project: capillarity.

hypothesis of paper towel

Yikes! You’ve just spilled water all over the table! Never fear, there are paper towels nearby. As you clean up your mess you notice that water is spreading throughout the paper towel. What is going on here? The water is being absorbed, or soaked up, by the paper towel material through a process called capillary action. Capillary action, also known as capillarity , is the rising or absorption of liquids through small gaps and holes certain materials.

Paper towels are permeable and porous, meaning that they contain small spaces that both liquid and air may pass through. Liquid is able to rise through a property of water called cohesion —that is, water molecules like to stay close to one another (which also helps to explain surface tension). Water also likes to bind to certain other materials through a process called adhesion. In this paper towel science project, we will be testing which type of paper towel contains the highest rate of capillarity (or ability to absorb water into its many small spaces).

Which of your 5 paper towels demonstrates the highest level of absorption or capillary action?

  • 5 different types of paper towels cut into 3”x3” rectangular strips (be sure that you use a variety: rough, soft, brown, white, recycled material, etc.)
  • 5 cups filled with a small amount of water
  • Cut a 3”x8” strip from each type of paper towel.
  • Observe any differences you see between the paper towels. ( Are some more “quilted” than others? Rougher? Softer?) Take note of any differences.
  • Fill each of 5 cups halfway with water.
  • Note which bowl you will be testing which paper towel in. (make small labels if this is helpful)
  • Carefully dip 1 st strip about 1 inch into the cup of water.
  • Use marker to note how much water is absorbed upwards into the towel. Be sure to mark it right above the damp part so that it is dry and doesn’t smear.
  • Repeat steps 4-6 with each paper towel strip.

Observations & Results

What happened? Did you notice any major differences in terms of absorption levels? If you used a largely quilted, soft paper towel, you may have noticed that it absorbed more than others.

Water wants to be wherever it can be held and kept together through cohesion and adhesion. In this case, the puffier, softer paper towels were able to hold more water because their capillarity was greater. This is due to their larger holes and pockets, which can hold more water than standard paper towels. Ever notice how rough and flat the brown paper towels in your school restrooms are? They’re not very absorbent because they do not have the soft, puffy, quilted texture of other types of paper towels.

Paper towels are a great way to explore capillary action because they show the ways in which water and other liquids can move upwards through a material at different rates and quantities. Feel free to keep investigating! Have any celery in the refrigerator? Celery can also be a great example of capillary action. Mix water and food coloring in a cup. Submerge a freshly cut end of a stalk of celery and watch the color be pulled up through the stalk!

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Science Projects on Which Paper Towel Is the Strongest

hypothesis of paper towel

How to Do a Science Fair Project on Paper Towels

If you want to know the strength of various brands of paper towels, you do not need a commercial to show you their take. Instead, do your own experiments at home and make your own educated decision. Purchase three to four different brands and then get home and start your various tests to find the strongest paper towel.

Dry Strength

hypothesis of paper towel

Tear off a sheet of each paper towel and be sure they are all whole pieces with no tears. Set out objects of varying weights, like an apple, a brick and a five-pound sack of sugar. Then, have one person hold the paper towel flat, in the air, with two hands on either side, while the other sets the object in the middle. Predetermine a length of time the object must stay on the paper towel before it counts as "strong enough to hold a..." Write down your observations for each brand, depending on how they preformed.

Wet Strength

hypothesis of paper towel

Take a new sheet of paper towel off each roll and soak them with water. Repeat the weight test with your objects to see if water makes any of them weaker or stronger. Write down your results for each. Then, while one person holds the paper towel flat in the air, place one of the objects in the center of the wet paper towel--the brick would work nicely--and see how long the paper towel can hold the weight. Before you start, make sure you have something--or someone--to catch the object when it finally falls through along with another person at the ready with a stop watch.

Absorbency Test

hypothesis of paper towel

Grab another fresh sheet with no rips or tears from each brand of paper towel. Each sheet must be the same size to get an accurate result. This time, when one person holds the paper towel flat in the air, have another person use an eye dropper to drop water onto the middle of the paper towel. Place a bowl underneath the paper towel, because you will be counting the total number of drops each brand can hold before the water begins to drip into the bowl.

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About the Author

Jessica Bold holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with a minor in Sociology. Bold has been professionally writing for one year, primarily for ehow, with articles focusing on and relating to education.

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Paper Towel Absorbency Experiment

Summer science fun

This post is part of the DIY Summer Camp Activities series. Find more fun things for kids of all ages there .

I coach a homeschool Science Olympiad team and one of the events is Experimental Design. For the event, students use various provided materials to design and conduct an experiment on a specific topic.

For one of our practice sessions last year, I gave them different brands of paper towel and asked them to conduct an experiment on absorbency.

The result – for me – was that I changed my brand of paper towel!! Yes, the results were that dramatic.

So the DIY summer camp activity will not only be educational and fun for your children but should also be beneficial for you!

Here is a step by step walkthrough of the experiment. You can use more water and more paper towels if you are using a bigger glass. Just adapt to make it work with the equipment you are using.

Get your children to come up with a hypothesis as to what they expect to happen and why eg. We believe brand A will be the most absorbent, brand B then next absorbent and brand C the least absorbent because …..

Materials needed

  • 3 (or more) different brands of paper towels (Note how much they cost)
  • graduated cylinder (if you don’t have one use a skinny glass and measure the water you pour in and what is left using a measuring jug)
  • aluminum pie dish or a tray to prevent a mess 🙂

1. Gather needed materials

2. Lay all paper towels on top of each other and use scissors to trim so they are all the same size (this way you’re testing how the absorbency of the towels differs and size isn’t a variable). You will need 3 pieces of each brand.

Cutting the paper towel

3. Take 1 paper towel from brand A and roll lengthwise so its diameter can fit in the graduated cylinder

4. Fill the graduated cylinder with lukewarm tap water to a volume of 30ml. (Note: we use metric measurements as that is standard in the scientific community).

Pour water into cylinder

5. Put a rolled paper towel in the cylinder so 3cm of the towel is submerged in the water

Absorbency experiment - dipping in the paper towel

6. Hold the towel in water for 10 seconds, then lift it up out of the cylinder and allow to drip into the cylinder for 5 seconds. (The purpose for doing this was to make sure the test showed what the paper towels were absorbing AND keeping in. After all, you don’t want towels that drip out everything you’ve just cleaned up!)

7. Either dispose of paper towel in a waste bin OR place in pie pan and throw them all away at once when you finish

8. Record the volume of water remaining in the cylinder and subtract from the original 30ml to see how much water the towel absorbed

9. Repeat steps 3-8 two more times with the same brand of paper towel.

10. Now take the next brand of paper towel and do steps 3 – 9.

Record your data as you do the experiment. Once you are finished, calculate the average amount of water left for the 3 trials of each brand of paper towel.

IMG_0280 (2)_LI

Draw a bar graph of the average of the tests for each brand of paper towel. It will look something like this:

Graph

The independent variable in this experiment is the brand of paper towel i.e. it is the one the tester is changing. The independent variable is always on the X-axis.

The average amount of water (over the 3 trials) left in the cylinder is the dependent variable and the bar should be drawn to this height.

Now that you have the data, and the graph, students can reach a conclusion. They need to decide if their hypothesis was supported by the data or not (NOTE: scientists never say their hypothesis was ‘true’ or ‘false’ but only whether the result of their experiment supported the hypothesis or not)

The Science Behind It

Paper towel is made of plant fibers. Capillary action in the fibers draws the water into the paper towels. If you have a microscope, put a piece of paper towel under it for your children to look at. The fibers are made up of tiny linked sugar molecules called cellulose. Cellulose attracts water. If you look at paper towel under a microscope you will also see that there are spaces between the fibers – and those will hold water too.

To take this one step further, take a look at how much each roll of paper towel cost and try to calculate the cost of one “test strip” for each. Relate the cost to how absorbent the brand was and that should help you select what to buy in the future.

And your children can see a practical use for science!

Don’t forget to take a look at other DIY Summer Camp ideas to do with your children.

Absorbency experiment / Summer science fun #sciencefun #summerscience #DIYScience

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Folded or Flat Paper Towel: Which One Absorbs More Water?

A soggy project from Science Buddies

By Science Buddies

hypothesis of paper towel

A little science can help you save an important resource you probably use every day: paper towels. Try this activity and see what simple trick can help you--and the environment! 

George Retseck

Key concepts Absorption Paper Water Molecules

Introduction We all know that washing hands throughout the day can help keep colds and flu at bay. So several times a day we lather up, scrub, rinse and then use a paper towel—then another one, maybe even three or four to dry them off. Because who wants wet hands?

But could there be a way to conserve some of that paper by getting a paper towel to go the extra mile, allowing you to dry your hands with just one single sheet? This activity just might help you find the answer.

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Background To understand how paper towels absorb water, we need to know a little about how they are made.

Paper towels are made of ground-up plant material. If you look through a microscope at a torn-up piece of paper (or look up some images on the Internet), you will see a web of tiny plant fibers. Magnifying your paper further will reveal that the fibers are made of long chains of linked sugar molecules, called cellulose. Water is attracted to cellulose and likes to be soaked up and stick to the cellulose in paper.

When you looked through your microscope, did you also see the spaces between the fibers? These empty spaces affect the absorbency of the paper: Water likes to stick together and fill these spaces as it follows the water attracted to the cellulose. More spaces allow more water to be absorbed. But what would happen if you add a tiny space between sheets of paper towels? Would the empty space between the sheets help to hold more water?

Five or more identical paper towels—preferably the type in public restrooms (In case you would like to test different types of paper towels, choose at least five identical towels of each type. Do not worry about wasting a few towels—this activity might help save paper in the long run!)

Place to hang a paper towel to drip

Kitchen scale, one-gram precision or better

Paper and pen or pencil (for recording weights)

A workspace that can get a little wet

Scissors to make towels smaller for small hands (optional)

Preparation

Assemble all of your materials at your workspace.

Unfold the first paper towel (if you have the prefolded type). Wet it thoroughly and hang it so all of the excess water drips out.

When the towel no longer drips, weigh it on a kitchen scale. You can heap up the towel on the scale rather than neatly folding it. Record the mass on a piece of paper.

Fold an identical paper towel in three (if it was not already prefolded) and fold it one more time so six layers of towel are on top of one another. Wet it thoroughly and hang it—still folded—so all of the excess water drips out. Do you think this folded paper towel holds more, less or just as much water as the unfolded paper towel?

When the folded towel stops dripping, weigh it on a kitchen scale. Do not unfold it; place it on the scale then read and record its mass. Does it weigh more, less or exactly the same as the wet unfolded paper towel? If there is a difference, why do you think the mass is different?

Now that you measured how much water the folded and unfolded paper towels can hold, and maybe found a difference, which do you think would dry your hands better?

Place a fresh, unfolded paper towel and an identical fresh paper towel folded in three in a dry spot on your workspace.

Wet your hands, shake them three times to remove most of the water and then dry them off with the unfolded paper towel. Do your hands feel completely dry, somewhat dry or still quite wet?

Repeat wetting and shaking your hands. Try to shake your hands in the same way you did the first time then dry them with the folded paper towel. How do your hands feel now? Do they feel dryer, wetter or just as dry as when you used the unfolded paper towel?

If your hands feel very dry with both the folded and unfolded paper towels, try again with half a paper towel, as follows: Cut a paper towel in half and dry your hands with an unfolded half-towel and with a folded half-towel. Do you feel a difference now?

How can your findings help you use fewer paper towels for the same job?

Extra: If you have more paper towels of the same type, repeat the tests; perform each step exactly the same way and notice the variations in the outcomes. Does the measured difference in mass vary a lot or just a bit? Is it always the folded or always the unfolded paper towel that weighs more? Do your hands always feel drier when using the folded or the unfolded paper towel ? Scientists repeat tests to verify the outcome. Scientists also like to have their studies repeated by a different researcher utilizing different instrumentation (such as the scale). If the independent tests reveal the same results, the test is called reproducible . Such repeated tests by other experimenters have more scientific value. Can you find a friend to help you make your tests reproducible?

Extra: If you have different types of paper towels available, repeat the tests with them. Do you expect similar results? What did you find after testing them all?

Extra : Test other paper products that are used to absorb liquids, such as kitchen paper towels, toilet paper, paper napkins or tissues. Do these absorb more water when folded than when used single-layered? Which type of paper product gains most by folding? Can you explain why?

Observations and results Did you measure a higher mass for the folded wet paper towel and did your hands feel drier when you used it? This is expected, as the tiny space between paper towel layers helps hold more water.

Paper is made of cellulose, which water molecules like to cling to. As a result, paper readily absorbs water. Paper towels are especially absorbent because their cellulose fibers have empty spaces—tiny air bubbles—between them. Water molecules, which like to stay together, follow the one another as they are absorbed by the cellulose and fill the empty spaces. Layering the paper towel creates more spaces for water to fill, which explains why your layered paper towel could hold more water and was more efficient at drying your hands.

The next time you reach for the paper towels, remember to fold! You might feel good knowing you just saved an extra paper towel from being used.

Cleanup Let your wet paper towels dry, then recycle them if possible.

This activity was inspired by the TEDx talk, " How to Use One Paper Towel ," by Joe Smith.

More to explore How Do Paper Towels Absorb Water? from A Moment of Science, Indiana Public Media How to Use One Paper Towel , from Joe Smith, TEDxConcordiaUPortland Paper Chromatography , from Flashbang Science Chromatography: Be a Color Detective , from Scientific American

This activity brought to you in partnership with Science Buddies

hypothesis of paper towel

Statistically Analyzing the Effect of Various Factors on the Absorbency of Paper Towels

Lynn Tao (1), Angie Zhang (1), Jane Chi (2)

(1) Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Alexandria, VA, (2) Northrop Grumman Mission Systems, Fairfax, VA

Dec 04, 2020

Cover photo for Statistically Analyzing the Effect of Various Factors on the Absorbency of Paper Towels

The spread of SARS-CoV2 virus and COVID-19 has caused a surge in demand for paper towels, with a 264% increase in sales growth as customers enhance their hygiene efforts. Though there have been many studies on the characteristics of various paper towels, relatively little research has been performed on how different types of liquid, different fat concentrations, and different properties of paper towels impact their absorbency. In this study, we examined the effect of these factors using samples of the Bounty Select-a-Size paper towels obtained by simple random sampling, and random assignment procedure. We constructed comparative graph displays, verified the data’s normal distribution, and performed statistical analysis. A two-sample mean significance test gave us strong statistical evidence to reject the null hypotheses in favor of the alternative hypotheses at the alpha level of 0.05. We found that different liquid types did impact the absorption capability of a paper towel — milk tended to have a higher absorption amount into paper towels than water, and vegetable oil tended to have a higher absorption amount than milk. We also found to a certain degree that fat concentration tended to increase a liquid’s absorption amount into paper towels. We reported a cause and effect relationship from the paper towels’ properties (whether folded or not) and its absorbency. Our results could help restaurants and other businesses save expenses by minimizing paper towel usage according to spill types and by using paper towels in more efficient ways.

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Compare absorption ability of Paper towels

Introduction: (initial observation).

Manufacturers of different paper towels usually claim that their product absorbs more water. There are different paper towels in the market in different price range. We are wondering which paper towel is really the best absorbent. Does it have any thing to do with price? Are there any visual indications that may help us to identify the best paper towel? Roll Paper Towels

This is a typical quality control project usually performed by quality control laboratories.

hypothesis of paper towel

This project guide contains information that you need in order to start your project. If you have any questions or need more support about this project, click on the “ Ask Question ” button on the top of this page to send me a message.

If you are new in doing science project, click on “ How to Start ” in the main page. There you will find helpful links that describe different types of science projects, scientific method, variables, hypothesis, graph, abstract and all other general basics that you need to know.  

Project advisor

Information Gathering:

Find out about paper towel and how it is made. Read books, magazines or ask professionals who might know in order to learn about the factors that may affect the ability of paper towels to absorb water. Keep track of where you got your information from.

Following are samples of information that you may find in books or online resources:

Start by learning about the paper history. Use search keywords such as “paper history” or “the history of paper”.

Paper has a long history, beginning with the ancient Egyptians and continuing to the present day. For thousands of years, hand-made methods dominated and then, during the 19th century, paper production became industrialized. Originally intended purely for writing and printing purposes, a wide variety of paper grades and uses are now available to the consumer.

Source…

You may also want to search for the “invention of paper”.

Written communication has been the center of civilization for centuries. Most of our important records are on paper. Although writing has been around for a long time, paper hasn’t. In fact, putting thoughts down in written form wasn’t always easy or practical. Early people discovered that they could make simple drawings on the walls of caves, which was a great place for recording thoughts, but wasn’t portable.

Finally you may want to learn about the types of paper.

not a paper per say, but often used as a surface. A thin, flexible sheet of transparent plastic used to make overlays
has no free acid, or a pH of at least 6.5. The use of a synthetic sizing material allows the paper to be manufactured with a neutral or alkaline pH
manufactured under acid conditions having no surface buffering capacity
grade of paper commonly used for file folders, displays, and post cards
grade of paper commonly used for writing, printing, and photocopying
grade of paper suitable for books, magazines, and general printing needs
type of board paper used for post cards, business cards, and other heavy-use products. Some types of Bristol are referred to as Vellum Bristol, but are not true translucent vellum
made in an acid environment and then buffered on the surface to obtain a required pH
paper coated on one side
paper coated on both sides
general term for stiff, bulky paper such as index, tag, or Bristol
fluted paper between sheets of paper or cardboard or the fluted paper by itself
made from cotton fibers rather than wood pulp
label paper or sheet of paper with glue that can be activated by water
another term for Coated paper with gloss finish
sheet of paper, made individually by hand using a mold and deckle
light weight board paper for writing and easy erasure
paper with a prominent pattern of ribbed lines in the finished sheet. It is accomplished in handmade paper using a screen-like mold of closely set parallel horizontal wires, crossed at right angles by vertical wires spaced somewhat further apart
sheet of paper produced on a rapidly moving machine called the Fourdrinier, which forms, dries, sizes and smoothes the sheet; uniformity of size and surface texture marks the machine-made sheet
strong, buff-colored paper used to make envelopes and file folders
sheet of paper that simulates a handmade sheet in look, but is made by a slowly rotating machine called a cylinder-mould; the machine was introduced in England in 1895
paper that simulates writing surfaces made from animal skins
paper made from fibers of non-wood origin, including actual cotton rags, cotton linters, cotton or linen pulp. Rag papers contain from 25-100% cotton fiber pulp
common misnomer applied to lightweight Oriental papers; rice alone cannot produce a sheet of paper so rice (straw) is only occasionally mixed with other fibers in papermaking; the name may be derived from the rice size once used in Japanese papermaking
not a paper per say, but a sheet of thin clear or opaque plastic that once heated shrinks in size
term for carbonless, pressure-sensitive, synthetic, and other papers made for special applications
plastic or other petroleum-based paper
thin, translucent, lightweight papers available in many colors
paper with little or no sizing, like blotter, making it very absorbent; if dampening is desired, this paper can be sprayed with an atomizer
 
paper with a uniform unlined surface and smooth finish, generally made on a European style mould with a woven wire surface
stiff, translucent paper available in clear, white, marbled, colored or embossed
also called plush or suede paper; paper with velvet feel and nap

What type of paper is used for paper towel?

A paper towel is a piece of absorbent paper made for the general purposes of towels, but most often used for drying hands. There are two distinct classes of paper towels in existence: the “domestic” paper towel, and the “institutional” paper towel. Invented in 1907 by Arthur Scott, the paper towel has ascended to provide a simple and efficient method of cleaning.

Question/ Purpose:

What do you want to find out? Write a statement that describes what you want to do. Use your observations and questions to write the statement.

The purpose of this project is to compare several different brands of paper towels and determine which of them will absorb the most water/moisture. We assume that the most absorbent paper towel would be most useful for cleaning up spills of water and other liquids. We compare similar types of paper towels. The thickness of paper tissues and towels are rated by layers or “ply”. A 3-ply towel would normally be thicker and more absorbent than a 2-ply towel (not always but usually). We decide to use all 2-ply or all 3-ply, etc., in the experiment so that thickness is not a variable in the experiments.

Identify Variables:

When you think you know what variables may be involved, think about ways to change one at a time. If you change more than one at a time, you will not know what variable is causing your observation. Sometimes variables are linked and work together to cause something. At first, try to choose variables that you think act independently of each other.

Following is a sample:

Independent variable (also known as manipulated variable) is the type or brand of paper towel.

Dependent variable (also known as responding variable) is the amount of water each paper towel absorb.

Controlled variable is the temperature. (perform all your experiments at room temperature)

Constants are the size and number of layers of each paper towel.

Hypothesis:

As a hypothesis, the student will state which brand of paper towel is expected to absorb the most moisture. The hypothesis most likely will be based on past experience, intuition or advertising. The hypothesis will then be tested by experimentation. The brand of paper towel will be the independent variable and the amount of water absorbed will be the dependent variable in the experiment.

This is a sample hypothesis:

Among Three brands of Brawny, Bounty and Kleenex that I am testing Bounty is the more absorbent paper. My hypothesis is based on the advertisements and what I have heard from others.

Experiment Design:

Design an experiment to test each hypothesis. Make a step-by-step list of what you will do to answer each question. This list is called an experimental procedure. For an experiment to give answers you can trust, it must have a “control.” A control is an additional experimental trial or run. It is a separate experiment, done exactly like the others. The only difference is that no experimental variables are changed. A control is a neutral “reference point” for comparison that allows you to see what changing a variable does by comparing it to not changing anything. Dependable controls are sometimes very hard to develop. They can be the hardest part of a project. Without a control you cannot be sure that changing the variable causes your observations. A series of experiments that includes a control is called a “controlled experiment.”

Method #1 – The Drip Method :

The Materials Needed

1. Three sheets of each brand of paper towel to be tested.

2. Scissors

3. A roll of tape.

4. A glass or other container for the water.

5. A large eyedropper

The Methods Used

Tear off one sheet of each brand to be tested. Carefully mark each sheet so the original brand will not be confused. Lay one atop the other to see if each sheet is the same size as all others. If necessary cut and trim all sheets to the size of the smallest sheet. Now fold each sheet in half, in half again, again and again. The sheet has now been folded in half 4 times and is a tight pad only 1/16 its original size.

Next take a long strip of tape and run it along the edges of the last fold to hold the pad closed. Leave several inches of tape protruding from the end of the paper pad.

Use the excess tape to hang the pad from the spigot over the sink.

Finally, fill the eye-dropper with water and begin apply drops of water to the top-most corner of the pad. The moisture will slowly soak its way down the pad as more drops are added. Be certain to COUNT the number of the drops applied. Apply the drops slowly as the pad becomes more saturated… give it a chance to absorb as much moisture as possible. At some point, the pad will become totally saturated and unable to absorb anymore water. At that point it will begin to drip. Immediately stop adding water and record the total number of drops the towel absorbed before dripping.

To be sure the test was done properly, it should be repeated three times. If there is a difference in the number of drops absorbed, use the average value as the final for that brand of paper towel.

Finally, repeat the above for each brand of paper towel selected.

Method #2 – Capillary Action Method

When water is dropped on a paper towel, an immediate “spreading” of the damp spot is noticed. That spreading is due to capillary action, the ability of liquids to be drawn up into narrow spaces. The second method will test the capillary action of each brand of paper towel by having it absorb water against the force of gravity.

hypothesis of paper towel

1. One sheet of each brand of paper towel to be tested. 2. Two clear glasses 3. One or more foot-long rulers (one for each brand tested is ideal) 4. Food coloring (just a few drops) 5. Magnifying glass (optional) 6. A supply of tape 7. Water 8. A spoon or other kitchen utensil to stir with 9. A watch or clock to keep time with.

1. Cut 1″ x 10″ strips of each paper towel brand being tested. Label each strip so that the brand identity cannot be confused.

2. Place the ruler(s) on the outside of a clear glass, standing straight up and with the one end of the ruler(s) level on the table top. The inch measurements should be outside the glass. Tape in place. If multiple rulers are used, space them apart by about the width of a ruler.

3. Tape a 1″x10″ sample strip on the back of the ruler, even with its top. Tape the strip only at the top. Although the ruler is outside the glass, the paper strip should hang inside the glass, its bottom hanging down to the 2″ mark on the ruler. If multiple rulers are available, tape the other paper samples onto their rulers as well.

6. Fill the second glass roughly half full of water. Add 5-6 drops of red food coloring and stir to mix.

7. Gently and carefully pour the colored water into the first glass until the water covers the bottom ends of the samples by about 1/16 inch. Record the time. Make a written notation of which sample seems to be absorbing the water the fastest (you will see the colored water seep up the sample).

8. Allow exactly 30 minutes to see what the maximum capillary action will be. Record the stop time for the experiment and also record the height to which each sample has absorbed the colored water. The use of the magnifying glass is optional but may help determine the height, especially of two or more of the samples are very close to each other.

9. Repeat the above method at least 3 times for each brand of paper towels. Use the average height to determine each brand’s capillary capability. Enter your results in a table shown below.

hypothesis of paper towel

Make a graph:

Make a bar graph with one vertical bar for each brand of paper towel. The height of each bar will be the capillary action height based on your results table below.

Brand Capillary action height

Method #3 – The Squeeze Method

The Materials Needed:

1. Three sheets of each brand of paper towel to be tested. 2. Scissors 3. A large bowl 4. A graduated cylinder 5. A measuring cup 6. Water

Compare the sheet sizes for each brand of paper towel and if necessary use the scissors to trim all sheets to precisely the same size.

Fill a large bowl with water and place it in the sink. Set the measuring cup nearby.

Lay one paper towel flat in the bowl, and push it beneath the water’s surface. Leave the paper towel submerged for 15-20 seconds to make sure it is fully saturated.

Lift the towel from the water and hold it over the bowl to allow excess water to drain back into the bowl. Wait until there is only one drop every 2-3 seconds, then carefully fold the towel and hold it over the measuring cup. Squeeze as much water as possible out of the towel.

Repeat the above procedure for the 2nd and 3rd sheets of the same paper brand. Squeeze each sheet into the measuring cup.

When all three towels have been squeezed out, pour the water from the measuring cup into a graduated cylinder and carefully note the amount of water squeezed out of the three towels. Make entries in the project log book as to the water measurement.

Next move on to paper towel brand #2 and repeat the process of soaking three sheets one after another and squeezing the water out of them into the measuring cup. Again pour the combined water into the graduated cylinder for accurate measurement.

Repeat the procedure for all brands of paper towels.

The amounts of water now provide the answer as to which brand was the most absorbent. The brand which picked up the most water was the most absorbent.

Results table:

Write your results in a table that has two columns. First column is a list of paper towel brands that you are testing. The second column is the amount of water absorbed by each paper towel brand. Amount of water may be described as the number of drops, the weight of water or the volume of water in milliliters. This is a sample table:

Brawny
Bounty
Kleenex

Make a bar graph to visually present your experiment results. Make one vertical bar for each brand. The height of each bar represents that amount of water each brand can absorb. Under each bar write the name of the brand it represents. On the top of each bar write the amount of water it can absorb.

Results of Experiment (Observation):

The data could be presented in written form or a bar graph would be an excellent visual method of displaying the final results. Each brand tested should have its own bar. The length of the bars would be proportional to the amount of water absorbed.

Summary of Results:

Summarize what happened. This can be in the form of a table of processed numerical data, or graphs. It could also be a written statement of what occurred during experiments.

It is from calculations using recorded data that tables and graphs are made. Studying tables and graphs, we can see trends that tell us how different variables cause our observations. Based on these trends, we can draw conclusions about the system under study. These conclusions help us confirm or deny our original hypothesis. Often, mathematical equations can be made from graphs. These equations allow us to predict how a change will affect the system without the need to do additional experiments. Advanced levels of experimental science rely heavily on graphical and mathematical analysis of data. At this level, science becomes even more interesting and powerful.

Conclusion:

The bar graphs, or even just the recorded results if no graph is prepared, will make the final results obvious. The student should present those results and decide whether or not the original hypothesis was confirmed or disproved. If possible, the student should also offer reasons as to why the winning brand was the most absorbent. Was it the texture? The way the paper was made? The project report should note any differences in the brands which might account for the outcome.

Related Questions & Answers:

What you have learned may allow you to answer other questions. Many questions are related. Several new questions may have occurred to you while doing experiments. You may now be able to understand or verify things that you discovered when gathering information for the project. Questions lead to more questions, which lead to additional hypothesis that need to be tested.

After you have completed your experiments and identified the paper towel that is the best absorbent, you may be wondering what is the cause of such difference.

To find an answer you may need to do additional experiments and observations as follows:

  • Use a magnifier or microscope to compare the fibers used in making the paper towels you tested.
  • Also cut one square foot of each paper towel and measure its weight. Find out how much fiber is used in making of one square foot of each paper towel.

Possible Errors:

If you did not observe anything different than what happened with your control, the variable you changed may not affect the system you are investigating. If you did not observe a consistent, reproducible trend in your series of experimental runs there may be experimental errors affecting your results. The first thing to check is how you are making your measurements. Is the measurement method questionable or unreliable? Maybe you are reading a scale incorrectly, or maybe the measuring instrument is working erratically.

If you determine that experimental errors are influencing your results, carefully rethink the design of your experiments. Review each step of the procedure to find sources of potential errors. If possible, have a scientist review the procedure with you. Sometimes the designer of an experiment can miss the obvious.

References:

Visit your local library and find any possible books related to paper manufacturing. Find out how the papers are made and what are different types of paper.

List such books in your bibliography as your references.

You must also include your online resources and electronic resources such as websites and encyclopedias on CDROMs.

hypothesis of paper towel

It is always important for students, parents and teachers to know a good source for science related equipment and supplies they need for their science activities. Please note that many online stores for science supplies are managed by MiniScience.

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hypothesis of paper towel

News Detail

Which paper towel is the most absorbent our 6th-graders found out.

hypothesis of paper towel

IMAGES

  1. PPT

    hypothesis of paper towel

  2. hypothesis for which paper towel brand is the strongest

    hypothesis of paper towel

  3. Paper Towel Absorbency Experiment

    hypothesis of paper towel

  4. Paper Towel Experiment

    hypothesis of paper towel

  5. PPT

    hypothesis of paper towel

  6. Problem Statement Which paper towel is the strongest

    hypothesis of paper towel

VIDEO

  1. Concept of Hypothesis in Hindi || Research Hypothesis || #ugcnetphysicaleducation #ntaugcnet

  2. The Platonic Representation Hypothesis: How AI Models Converge Towards a Unified Reality

  3. What I didn't like about using reusable paper towels

  4. Experiment

  5. Which Paper Towel Brand Absorbs The Most Water

  6. S2 hypothesis testing with normal approximation

COMMENTS

  1. Paper Towel Experiment

    Method. Fill the beaker up with exactly 200 ml of water. Take a sheet of the first brand of towel. Fold and insert into the water. As you dip the towel into the water, start your stopwatch. After 20 seconds, remove the towel from the beaker and squeeze as much water as you can out of the towel in to the graduated cylinder using the funnel.

  2. How to Do a Science Fair Project on Paper Towels

    For instance, if one brand of paper towel advertises itself as the strongest, your hypothesis could read, "Brand X is the strongest wet paper towel." Create a backboard that has some examples of the paper towels, pictures from the experiment, and the most important parts of the report, like hypothesis, conclusion, and important data, such as ...

  3. Experiment-Which paper towel is most absorbent?

    A conclusion should reference the original hypothesis and state whether it was correct or incorrect. It should also summarize the findings of the experiment. For example, for those who thought Kirkland was the most absorbent, the conclusion would have been like this: Our hypothesis that Kirkland paper towels would be the most absorbent was correct.

  4. PDF ABSORBENCY OF PAPER TOWELS

    1. Select a paper towel and fold it twice, to one-fourth its original size. 2. Put the dry paper towel in the dry bowl, put the bowl on the balance, and record the total weight. The combined weight of the bowl and the dry sheet will be called the dry weight. 3. Holding the sheet in the tongs, immerse the sheet completely in the bucket

  5. Paper Towel Experiments

    Place one paper towel over one pool of water. Wait ten seconds. Remove the paper towel, and record your findings of the paper towel absorbency in the notebook. Repeat steps 3 through 5 for each paper towel brand. Create a graph to illustrate the results of which paper towel absorbs the most water.

  6. Absorbency of Paper Towels Across Different Brands

    The hypothesis here is that the paper towel brandthat can absorb the most water and leaves the least amount of water (mL) will be the most optimal brandof paper towels. Methods Make five 10cm by 20cm rectangles for each brand ofpaper towels (Bounty, Viva, Kirkland, Sparkle).

  7. PDF ABSORBENCY OF PAPER TOWELS

    The absorbency of paper towels experiment is an example of a factorial experiment. A factorial experiment consists of several factors (brand type, immersion time) which are set at different levels, and a response variable (weight of water absorbed). The purpose of the experiment is to assess the impact of different combinations of the levels of ...

  8. Paper Towel Experiment

    Paper towels are often made from post consumer recycled paper fiber, requiring fewer trees being cut down and using up to 50% less energy. Performing the Paper Towel Experiment Hypothesis "More expensive brands of paper towel are more absorbent." What You Will Need for the Paper Towel Experiment At least four brands of absorbent paper towel

  9. PDF The Big, the Bad, and the Brawny: Paper Towel Absorbency

    Instead of 10 seconds, the dip time was increased to 30 seconds. The overall results remained the same, with Brawny being the most absorbent of the four. The results of the experiment completely support the hypothesis. Brawny paper towels performed better in each of the three tests.

  10. Which paper towel is more absorbent?

    This group activity focuses on conducting an experiment to determine which of two brands of paper towels are more absorbent by measuring the amount of water absorbed. A two-sample t-test can be used to analyze the data, or simple graphics and descriptive statistics can be used as an exploratory analysis. Students are asked to think about design ...

  11. KS2 Science: Which is the most absorbent paper towel?

    LOUISE: We're trying to find out which paper towel absorbs the most water.For this experiment, we're going to use: three trays. One sheet ofpaper per tray, cut to equal sizes. A beaker, we'll add ...

  12. PDF Absorbency of Paper Towels

    The procedure can be used for any factorial experiment. The absorbency of paper towels experiment is an example of a factorial experiment. A factorial experiment consists of several factors (brand, time) which are set at different levels, and a response variable (amount of water absorbed). In this part you will use the GLM General Factorial ...

  13. Paper Towel Science Project: Capillarity

    The water is being absorbed, or soaked up, by the paper towel material through a process called capillary action. Capillary action, also known as capillarity, is the rising or absorption of liquids through small gaps and holes certain materials. Paper towels are permeable and porous, meaning that they contain small spaces that both liquid and ...

  14. Science Projects on Which Paper Towel Is the Strongest

    Take a new sheet of paper towel off each roll and soak them with water. Repeat the weight test with your objects to see if water makes any of them weaker or stronger. Write down your results for each. Then, while one person holds the paper towel flat in the air, place one of the objects in the center of the wet paper towel--the brick would work ...

  15. Paper Towel Absorbency Experiment

    Put a rolled paper towel in the cylinder so 3cm of the towel is submerged in the water. Dip the paper towel in. 6. Hold the towel in water for 10 seconds, then lift it up out of the cylinder and allow to drip into the cylinder for 5 seconds. (The purpose for doing this was to make sure the test showed what the paper towels were absorbing AND ...

  16. Paper Towel Absorbency Experiment

    Paper Towel Absorbency Experiment. Amanda has taught high school science for over 10 years. She has a Master's Degree in Cellular and Molecular Physiology from Tufts Medical School and a Master's ...

  17. Folded or Flat Paper Towel: Which One Absorbs More Water?

    This is expected, as the tiny space between paper towel layers helps hold more water. Paper is made of cellulose, which water molecules like to cling to. As a result, paper readily absorbs water ...

  18. Statistically Analyzing the Effect of Various Factors on the Absorbency

    We found that different liquid types did impact the absorption capability of a paper towel — milk tended to have a higher absorption amount into paper towels than water, and vegetable oil tended to have a higher absorption amount than milk. We also found to a certain degree that fat concentration tended to increase a liquid's absorption ...

  19. Folded or Flat Paper Towel: Which One Absorbs Most?

    Paper is made of cellulose, and water molecules like to cling to cellulose. As a result, paper readily absorbs water. Paper towels are especially absorbent. Their cellulose fibers have empty spaces, like tiny air bubbles, between them. Water molecules, which like to stay together, follow the water absorbed by the cellulose and fill up the empty ...

  20. The Paper Towel Absorbency Lab

    The Paper Towel Absorbency Lab: Applying the Scientific Method Ms. Bormann 8th Grade Honors Science Kawameeh Middle School Applying the Scientific Method 1. Ask a question. 2. Research the topic. 3. Form a hypothesis. Record the materials you are using 4. Test the Hypothesis. 5. Gather Data. 6. Analyze Results. 7.

  21. Compare absorption ability of Paper towels

    The brand of paper towel will be the independent variable and the amount of water absorbed will be the dependent variable in the experiment. This is a sample hypothesis: Among Three brands of Brawny, Bounty and Kleenex that I am testing Bounty is the more absorbent paper.

  22. Which paper towel is the most absorbent? Our 6th-graders found out!

    The size of paper towels, water temperature, and materials were all controlled as best as possible. Each towel was submerged in water for five seconds, held up for 15 seconds, and then squeezed for 10 seconds into a graduated cylinder through a funnel. Students then measured the amount of water extracted from each paper towel sample.

  23. Paper Towel Experiment

    The paper towel provided by the school absorbed the least amount of water (4 mL). The results from the experiment prove that my hypothesis was right, Bounty was the brand able to absorb the most water. ... My hypothesis was accepted because I predicted that Bounty was the best paper towel. In our experiment, I feel that our results were pretty ...