EC Explore – Aluminum Thickness


In class, we did an experiment in which we needed to determine the thickness of a piece of aluminum foil. The challenge of this lab was of course that we were limited by our tools and could mot simply “measure” the thickness. Instead, we had to calculate. As this was an unofficial exploration, I do not have specific data or pictures, and will use samples.
To do this, we first had to determine the area of our piece of foil. We measured our square in cm, estimating our measurements to the hundreth, as millimeters were also marked on the ruler. Then, we proceeded to mass our foil using a triple-beam balance. This would give us our mass, and allow us to calculate for our volume.
Now knowing the area, but not the height, we would need to find the volume. In order to do this, we took the mass of our piece and divided it by the given density of foil. This would give us our volume. We then took our volume and divided it by the area, giving us our height. This height would be the thickness of our foil. We remember to estimate to the next decimal place in all our measurements and write our results in significant digits and scientific notation if needed.
So for example, let’s say we have a piece of foil with a 25.00 cm2 area, and a mass of 3.451g. We would use the density of foil(2.712) with the mass to find our volume. In this case, our volume would be 1.259. We would them divide this by our area, and find our thickness or height. Here, the thickness would be 0.05037, or 5.037e-2.


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