|Is wool a good conductor of heat? Why or why not?|
|Question Date: 2018-03-13|
Interesting question. Wool is a poor conductor,
which is precisely why people weave wool into
clothing. A knitted wool sweater is warm
because it creates a layer of "dead air"
around its wearer. Since people are warm-blooded,
as are all mammals, the warmth from our bodies
heats up that layer of air in the sweater,
helping to slow down the flow of heat from
ourselves to the environment. In other words
the sweater helps keep us warm.
If the sweater were made of a good
conductor--the metal of a suit of armor, for
example--heat would readily be transmitted to the
As to why wool is a poor conductor, and most
metals are not, I'll leave that answer to the
physicists, but it's related to how easily
electrons flow through these substances.
You should do an experiment and find out! If
something conducts heat, then it will allow heat
to move from a warmer place to a cooler place. If
it is not good at conducting heat, then it will
prevent heat from moving from the warmer place to
a cooler place.
So what you should do is take a pot of hot
water, and wrap it up in a nice wool sweater. Then
measure how long it takes for the water to cool
Then, repeat the experiment without the wool
sweater, and measure how long it takes for the
water to cool off.
If wool is a good conductor, then the water in
the pot will cool off as fast or faster with the
wool than without.
Wool is a good insulator. That's why we
wear wool sweaters and jackets to keep ourselves
warm in cold weather. If wool were a good
conductor, it would transfer the heat out of us
and to the cold outside.
Here's what the internet says:
Sheep wool insulation is an outstanding insulator.
... Due to the crimped nature of wool fibers, they
form millions of tiny air pockets that trap air,
helping to provide a thermal barrier. Thermal
conductivity is the ability for heat to pass from
one side of a material through to the other.
read more here
Wool is not a good conductor of heat.
To be a good conductor of heat, a material needs
to allow heat to pass through itself quickly, and
this trait requires that the atoms (very small
fundamental particles) of a given material be able
to collide with each other freely, and that the
electrons (even smaller particles in all materials
that are negatively charged, electrically
speaking) can move freely.
Metals have atoms and electrons that can
collide and move much more freely than materials
such as wool, so wool does not conduct heat
well, while metals do - this is why wool
makes good insulators for humans in the winter, to
help us keep the heat in our bodies from
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