# thickness of aluminum foil lab

```Name _________________________________________________ Date __________________________ Class Period ________
Physical Science Lab Activity: Thickness of Aluminum Foil
Purpose:
To determine the thickness of a sheet of aluminum foil.
Introduction:
Sometimes it is not easy or possible to measure a quantity directly. For example, how would you determine the thickness of
aluminum foil? To do so directly is not possible with a regular ruler. However, the thickness (height) of the foil can be measured
easily and accurately by using the formulas for volume and density.
Density can be found using the equation, density = mass/volume. By rearranging the equation, the volume of the foil can be
found. The mass can be found on the balance and the density of aluminum is a constant.
The volume of a regular solid can be found from the equation, V = l x w x h. The length and width of the foil can be measured
with a ruler. Since the volume of the foil was found from the step above, the only variable left is the height or thickness of the foil.
Equipment/Materials:
aluminum foil
metric ruler
balance
Procedure:
1. Cut rectangular pieces of aluminum foil. The dimensions should be at least 10 cm on each side.
If there is only one type of foil available, cut 6 pieces.
If samples of more than one type of foil (heavy duty and regular) are available, get 3 pieces of each type.
2.
Using a metric ruler, carefully measure the length and width of each piece of foil. Record the measurements on your data
sheet. These values should be recorded to 2 decimal places.
3.
Using the balance, find the mass of each piece of aluminum foil. Record the masses on your data sheet.
4.
Put the materials away and begin your calculations.
Name ______________________________ Partner(s): ________________________________________________________
Thickness of Aluminum Foil Data Sheet
Data Table:
Sheet No.
Type (Regular/
Heavy Duty)
Length (cm)
Width (cm)
Mass (g)
1.
What equation can be used to find the area of each sheet of aluminum foil? ______________________________
2.
Find the area of each sheet of aluminum foil. Show your work in the space provided and record those values in the table
below.
3.
What is the equation that we use to find the density of an object? ______________________________
4.
Rearrange that formula so that it solves for volume. _______________________________
5.
Use the formula that you wrote above to calculate the volume of each sheet of aluminum foil. Use the mass that you
recorded for each sheet. The density of aluminum foil is 2.70 g/cm3. Show your work in the space provided and record
the volume that you calculate for each sheet in the table below.
6.
The thickness of foil is the same as the height of the foil. You have the now have the volume in your data table.
Remember that volume = length X width X height. The value that you calculated for area can be substituted in for
length x width. So that now volume = area X height or V = Ah. Rearrange this formula to solve for height.
h=___________________
7.
Use the formula that you wrote above to calculate the height, or thickness, of each sheet of aluminum foil. Show your
work in the space provided and record the height (thickness) that you calculate for each sheet in the table below.
Sheet
No.
Type
(reg/HD)
Work shown for
Area
AREA
of Foil
(cm2)
Work shown for
Volume
VOLUME
of Foil
(cm3)
Work shown for
height
HEIGHT/
THICKNESS
of Foil
(cm)
Analysis/Conclusions:
1.
What do you notice about the values that you calculated for the thickness of aluminum foil?
2.
Find the class average for the thickness of the foil. Calculate your percent error based on the class average using the
equation below. You should have 2 calculations—one for regular foil and one for heavy duty.
Accepted - Measured
Percent error = _____________________________
Accepted
3.
DISCUSS two things that could explain any error in your measurements/calculations.
4.
Sometimes finding the thickness or height of something isn’t as easy as measuring with a ruler, as you’ve just seen with
this activity. Suppose you were given a ream of 500 sheets of printer paper and were asked to find the thickness of a
single sheet. Describe how you could do that.
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