Intelligent insulation

We are testing 4 different insulations.
Ante Busic Delaney Janzen
Grade 5


We think first is going to be modern insulation. modern insulation will be the best because it has no holes and has been tested on millions of houses around the world, next concrete, then fiberglass, and last straw.



Spray foam is 2 chemicals, an Isocyanide and a Resin that mix and create a reaction. The product expands and turns hard within seconds. 

The Iso is a hardner and is in too many products to even mention.  Some of these products would be paints, plastic products, rubber products and more.  The resin is what makes it the type of foam it is. Resin has surfactants, which gives cells structure and strength, fire retardants which will not support a flame, polyols and blowing agents which help’s it expand.

We use a resin that makes a 2lb closed cell foam for insulating homes. This is an airtight product that works as insulation, an air barrier and moisture barrier. Source Curt Janzen, owner Beyond Foam Insulation Ltd.

Straw is dry stalky plant residue used like grain.

Straw was used in the past to insulate walls and ceilings. It was not effective but was used because it's cheap and easy to find. People would use straw to pack inside walls with mud that would hold it together.  

This would help stop some of the heat from escaping but air and moisture could still go through. 

Fiberglass comes in two ways one is blown in and the other is lay in fiberglass. Fiberglass is mostly used for attics and small crawl places. Fiberglass is a type of fiber primarily composed of glass that is used in a variety of applications. Glass has been woven into small amounts for centuries. Fiberglass can be colored as green, pink, white, and yellow depending on the manufacturer, and the spongy feel. Fiberglass batts are sold in different sizes and thicknesses. Most fiberglass batts are manufactured with foil or paper backing that faces the direction of warmth. 

 This is link I used :


Concrete itself has a low R-value, a measure of thermal resistance. Its insulation value comes primarily from using it in thick slabs. While concrete has a low R-value, it’s value in home heating and cooling comes partly from it’s high heat capacity, or its ability to store heat. A low R-value confers high transference of heat, meaning that heat stored in concrete will be given off easily to the living space. If not installed properly and not sealed completely,  moisture will gather behind insulation components to a concrete wall, allowing mold and mildew growth, a potential health hazard.

This is the link I used : 



 Controlled Variables


The size of the 4 boxes are exactly the same size. We used 2” of each insulation type on the bottoms and sides of all the boxes so it is equal.  The ice cubes in each of the boxes were the same and the 4 big boxes were located in the same areas with equal heat around them. 

Manipulated Variable


Our manipulated variable for this project is the type of insulation we are testing. For this test we are using four types of insulation 


Responding variable


How fast the ice will melt





Step 1: Make 4 boxes and with lids so that we can open it and look at the ice.

Step 2: Put insulation on all the sides and top and bottom of the boxes.

Step 3: Put an ice cube in the middle of them all with thermometer probes to keep track of the temperature.

Step 4: Watch it and take notes on it to see which ice cubes last the longest and shortest.



 For the first 6 times we checked the ice it was always the same and it didn’t matter what type of insulation was in the box.  After that we started to see some of the ice melt.  One of the tests, the ice in the concrete started to melt first. In the second test, the ice in the straw started to melt first. 

In all the tests the ice that started melting first, melted fastest.  

In all three of the tests, the ice in the foam box lasted the longest and the ice in the box with fiberglass came in second. 

The ice in the box that was insulated with spray foam lasted up to 15 ½ hours.



The reason we thaught they melted so quick is because they both have a really low R value.




Our hypothesis was not completely right because we thought that straw was going to be 4th but it was 3rd in two of the tests. It was also not correct that concrete would be a good insulator.  It did not perform the way we thought it would.

We were also correct in our hypotheses that Spray Foam would last the longest and the ice in the fiberglass would come in second. And The spray foam did what it was designed to do.





In the future when we build our own homes we will look for the most modern insulation type that we can afford. 

Building homes like they did in the past with straw is not a good idea.  It may be less money to build with but would not perform well

.  It makes more sense to spend money on proper insulation so that we do not have to pay a lot of money to heat our homes. 


Sources Of Error

It was at times hard to ensure the constancy of the lid was sealed to the top of the boxes perfectly.  After approximately taking off the lid and putting it back on 75 times it may not have been a perfect fit. There were a couple of times where the door to the garage was left open. This may have helped the ice last a bit longer because the heat of the garage would not affect the ice. Next time we would build a better lid that could be clamped down and we would not ever leave the garage door open.



Easton Janzen, Curt Janzen, Michelle Janzen, Norm Jazen, Ivan Busic, Diana Busic.