Natural Science Essay

Natural Science Essay.

The relevance of this test question is to determine which brand of leading paper towels is the best most absorbent. Consumers want to use the product that is most effective at meeting their needs. A more expensive product may actually be more cost effective if you can use less of it than a brand that costs less.

Literature Review

Many experiments have been conducted to test the strength and absorbency of paper towels. While the steps of the experiment vary from test to test, all of experiments are testing the same two factors; how much water can each paper towel brand absorb and how strong are each of the paper towels.

Below I have reviewed the process and results from three experiments that are similar to the one I will be using.

In the first experiment, the tester uses five brands of paper towels to test for absorbency, using paper towels of the same size to ensure the accuracy of the results.

He draws a two inch circle in the center of a sheet of paper towel from each brand represented and placing the paper towel in an embroidery hoop to maintain stability. He then drops fifteen drops of water into the center of the circle draw on the paper towel, repeating the process for each brand, and measures the amount of time it takes the paper towel to wick the moisture outside of the circle. This test concludes that Bounty has the greatest absorbency.

The next experiment tests for both absorbency and strength. As in the first test, several different brands of paper towels were used. In this experiment, to test the absorbency, the tester takes a sheet of each of the towels an inserts it into a glass with two ounces of water and leaves each sit for twenty seconds. After the twenty seconds expired, the tester removed the paper towel from the glass and rang out each paper towel into a measuring cup to see how much water each towel had absorbed. The second part of the experiment is conducted by stretching sheets of each paper towel through an embroidery hoop, placing 25 pennies in the center of the paper towel, and adding water to the towel drop by drop until the pennies fall through. The strongest paper towel in this test was Brawny Brand.

The final experiment that I reviewed also tested for absorbency. The theory behind this experiment was the faster that water moves through the towel, the more absorbent it is. The experimenter cut strips from each paper towel, one inch wide and six inches long. A mark is drawn on each paper towel one inch from the end using a waterproof marker. The strip is then held in a glass of water with the bottom inch submerged, timing how long it takes for the water to travel the length of the strip. The process is then repeated for each brand that is being tested. The most absorbent brand in this test was Brawny.

Experimental Design

A. Steps in Experimental Procedure

The absorbency of the towels will be tested by the speed the water moves through the paper towels, the faster the water moves, the more absorbent the towel is. I will be using the following brands of paper towels in my experiment: Brawny, Bounty, Sparkle and Scott. Other supplies necessary to complete the experiment are: a waterproof marker, and a sixteen-ounce glass of water, and a timer that registers tenths of a second.

1. Prepare three samples of paper towel from each brand by cutting strips of each that is 2 inches wide and six inches long. 2. Using a water-proof marker, draw a line across each paper towel one inch from the bottom. 3. Fill a sixteen ounce glass with water and prepare timer. 4. Take the first strip of paper towel and submerge it up to the line in the glass of water while holding it vertical to the glass while starting the timer. 5. Allow the timer to run until the water is absorbed through the paper towel and reaches the end of the towel not submerged. 6. Stop the timer and record the time in tenths of seconds. 7. Repeat steps 4 through 6 for all three strips of each brand.

B. Reasoning for Choosing my Experimental Design Plan

The reason I chose this design for my experiment is because it seemed to be more accurate than other testing methods I found during my literature review and could be performed with items I already had in my home. The experiment where the tester rang out the paper towels and measure the water that they had absorbed is less accurate because there is no guarantee of exerting the same amount of force each time you ring out a towel. There is no way to completely drain the towel of all of the liquid it absorbed. Stretching the paper towel samples across the embroidery frame is sound way to perform the experiment but it would have required the purchase of additional materials.

C. Sequence of Events to Collect Quantitative Data

I will begin the collection of quantitative data by cutting the paper towel samples from each brand into strips that are one inch wide by six inches long, to ensure that all of the samples will be equal. I will use the same glass of water for each test to ensure the water composition is the same for each test. I have created a spreadsheet in excel with a column listing each of the brands being tested and three columns for the time in tenths of a second to be entered upon completion of the experiment. During the experiment, I will make notes on a tablet of the brand name and the time recorded to be entered into the spreadsheet upon completion of the entire experiment.

D. Describe Tools, Technologies, and Measurement Units that are used to Collect the Data

To collect the data for this experiment I will use one inch wide by six inch long strips of paper towel from each of the brands being tested, a black water-proof marker to mark the strips of paper towel, an eight ounce glass of water, my hand to hold the strip vertical to the glass once submerged as indicated in the experimental procedure, a timer that measures tenths of a second, and a pad and pencil to record the initial results. Once the experiment is complete I will transfer the results of the experiments to the spreadsheet that I have created using Microsoft Excel. I will also use excel to create the graphic representation of the experiment results.

Dependent, Independent and Controlled Variables of the Experiment

The independent variable in my paper towel experiment is the one inch by six inch strip of paper towel taken from a roll of each brand of paper towel used in the experiment.

The dependent variable in the experiment is the amount of time it takes the water to travel the length of the strip of paper towel measured in tenths of a second.

The controlled variables of the experiment are using the same glass of water, same size sample of paper towel, and same timer for each test in the experiment.

Threat Reduction to Internal Validity

To reduce internal threats to validity I will use the same size piece of each paper towel from each brand for each test to conduct the experiment, marking each piece with a line at exactly one inch from the bottom. I will use the same water sample to ensure the liquid being absorbed by each sample strip is identical; the same timer will be used for each test to ensure the accuracy of the time recorded for each test. I will also monitor my results for outliers in the time required to absorb the water through each test towel to ensure the results are valid for each test.


The sample of Bounty paper towels will soak up the water through the length of paper towel faster than the other brands because it is thicker than the other brands being tested. I have arrived at this conclusion because the dual layers of towel that are present in the sample of Bounty create a greater surface to absorb water. The other brands are much thinner and have less thickness to soak up water.

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