Saturday, January 21, 2006

The Experiment!


So I got me a Stanley "The Bolt" vacuum thermos for X-mas from The Wife. I figured, "Hey that's kinda cool. I wonder if it will actually keep my cofee warm?" So I trundled off to work the next day toting my new thermos hoping to have some decent coffee at work for a change.

I was guzzling nice hot coffee all morning. Then I got distracted by work and didn't have any coffee for a while. Five o'clock rolls around and I'm getting kinda wool headed.

"Aha! I'll try some of my nice coffee. I hope it is still warm."

Poured me a spot and took a big swig...and burned the crap out of my tongue!

Sure, sure laugh it up. I know someone out there is chuckling at my expense. "Well, dude, that is what a vacuum thermos does. You're like an idiot or something." Well, yes, I guess that is true.

Look, I understand intellectually that a vacuum doesn't transfer heat for shit. Really. I do too! Fine, be that way! I understand it intellectually, I've just never seen it in action before.

Anyway, I kinda have a thing for efficiency. Efficient things impress me. I dunno why, they just do. Might have something to do with me being incredibly lazy (which in my humble opinion is just me being extremely efficient). Needless to say, The Wife disagrees. She is wrong of course, but that is a different story.

I know, "Ummm that's nice dude, but what the hell is the point?!?!"

Fine, the point is I wanted to know how efficient it really was. Now if you are a complete uber-dork (like myself) the solution is obvious. It is time for an experiment! Muhahahaha! And this one won't be nearly as detrimental to my health as the last one.

So, on to the experiment...

Determine the heat loss over time from a vacuum thermos.

I believe there will be very little heat loss from the vacuum thermos. (Already partially proven by empirical evidence. See "I burned the crap out of my tongue" above)

1 Stanley "The Bolt" vacuum thermos ($20-$30 at Target)
1 Digital Probe Thermometer (Pyrex Pro Digital Thermometer)
Water run through standard coffee maker. (Well, I ain't wasting real coffee on no damn experiment)

1. Fill thermos with hot water from the coffee maker.

2. Take initial temperature reading.

3. Take temperature readings every 1 hour.

4. Take final temperature reading after 24 hours have passed.


Ambient Teperature: 72-72F

Collected Data


Coherent Light is a complete dork. While this is a true statement it is tempered by the interest The Wife took in the experiment. After calling me a complete uber-dork (Slight paraphrasing, but that was certainly the point of the remarks), The Wife was hovering over my shoulder during the first few measurements. She even badgered me when she wasn't hovering over the shoulder.

"What was it?"

"Oooooh, now your interested. Well piss off, you called me an uber-dork! Biotch!"

Ok, fine, there was some slight paraphrasing involved in the dialog as well.

Anyway, back to the experiment. Total heat loss over 24 hours was 47 degrees. The average temperature loss over 24 hours was 1.95833 degrees per hour. Look, I have a graph!

Here is a graph with the observed data (in Red) and the projected heat loss with a constant value of 1.95833 (in Blue).

As you can see, the data is pretty close. Why isn't it dead on? Most likely because of instrument error. Don't get me wrong, I love my probe thermometer. It is completely awesome for doing indirect grilling or smoking. However, after about 2 years of use I've noticed it does tend to read a couple of degrees low.

The next uber-dork experiment I intend to use a Thermoworks Thermapen. Pretty much the only instant read thermometer worth buying. Yeah, at $80 it is expensive, but it is accurate to .5 degrees and it is 90% accurate after one second (99.9% accurate after 3 seconds).


First. I am a bit of a dork. We knew that, but it should be stated for the record.

Second. This was pretty cool. The Wife being as interested in the results was the biggest suprise of the experiment.

Third. Vacuum thermos's (thermoses, thermosi?) keep stuff pretty damn hot.

Fourth. I really want me a Thermapen.


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