The weather influences everything we do, even inside our houses. Some effects of the weather are subtle and very slight which can be difficult to observe. An interesting and often overlooked aspect associated with the weather is how it changes the boiling point of water. During times of high atmospheric pressure usually associated with settled weather, the boiling point of water is increased: the opposite is true during times of low atmospheric pressure, when the weather can be unsettled or stormy. The change in temperature of water's boiling point as surface atmospheric pressure varies is small (less than 1 degree Celsius), but can be measured. An example from doing that is here: https://rmets.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/wea.3693
Rather than use a thermometer, which would need to be very accurate to observe such small changes, this experiment will investigate how long the same kettle takes to boil on different days when the atmospheric pressure is different, to see if the weather's small effect on changing the boiling point can be detected in this way. It will only be a small change, so it matters that the measurement is done in a consistent way on the different days it is undertaken.
If you would like to help with this we would like you to make THREE measurements of how long your kettle takes to boil on one day and then again on another day, when the pressure has changed. We will decide on the best days to do the experiment and send alerts via social media about this. We will need you to enter the kettle boiling times you obtain into the webform below.
To take part in this "Inside Weather" experiment and provide some values you will need: an electric kettle, a measuring jug, digital scales, stopwatch or digital timer on a mobile phone. Follow the procedure below carefully and consistently each time, using the same kettle throughout.
Firstly a word of warning. Never forget that a boiling kettle is a dangerous thing - HOT WATER AND STEAM CAN SCALD YOU! For this experiment there is no need to be near the kettle when it is boiling but children must still be supervised. Leave the kettle to cool before repeating the measurement.
1. Wait for the kettle to cool if necessary
Empty the kettle.
Fill the kettle to the maximum with cold water from the tap. Fit the lid too.
Leave the kettle to stand. (This is done to bring the kettle's temperature to that of the tap water).
Place the empty jug on the scales and zero them.
Fill the jug with as close to 1000 g of water as possible, and within ±5 g (or start again).
Empty the kettle completely to the last drop.
Pour the entire contents of the jug into the kettle and fit the lid.
Switch the kettle on and start the timer at the same moment.
Stop the timer immediately the cut-out of the kettle switches off.
--> Record the time taken in seconds (to tenths of a second if you can) for the water to boil, in the next section of this form.
You can repeat the experiment for the second and third times in a few minutes when the kettle has cooled, or do it later in the day. And, rather than waste the hot water, you could pour it into an insulated flask to use later. When the weather has changed substantially, the experiment will need to be repeated, with the same kettle, scales and timer.