Boil Water in a Paper Bag – Science Project


Paper is a poor conductor of heat, so if you heat a bag of water over a flame, it won't burn, but the water will boil. (Jeffrey Beall)
Paper is a poor conductor of heat, so if you heat a bag of water over a flame, it won’t burn, but the water will boil. (Jeffrey Beall)

Here’s an interesting project for you to try: boil water in a paper bag.

How to Boil Water in a Paper Bag

  1. Place a ring stand over a Bunsen burner. That’s right, we’re going to boil the water in the paper bag over an open flame! Alternatively, make a box using printer paper and either paper clips or Scotch tape.
  2. Place a screen on the ring stand. This helps evenly distribute the heat from the flame.
  3. Add about 200 ml of water to a small paper bag (about 4-6″ across) and place the bag of water on the screen over the burner flame.
  4. Wait for the water to boil.

How It Works

Paper is a poor conductor of heat so the water heats slowly. Conduction of heat through the paper eventually increases the temperature of the water to its boiling point. The heat keeps the water from seeping through the bag, while the high heat capacity of the water keeps the paper from igniting.

Boil Water in Other Materials

You can boil water in other surprising containers. A good example is a paper cup. Try heating water inside a latex balloon without popping it. See how it works.