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Rubber Band Thermodynamics

Source Institutions

    University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Rubber Band Thermodynamics

In this demonstration, learners explore the thermal properties of rubber. Learners investigate whether a rubber band contracts or expands when heated. Learners discover that when rubber is heated it behaves differently than most familiar materials. Most materials expand when they are heated, but rubber contracts.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 14 - adult

Resource Types:
Activity, Demonstration


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Heavy rubber band
  • 2 Ring stands
  • Springs
  • Heat gun
  • Paper clips
  • Ruler or meter stick to measure contraction


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Chemical Engineering
      • Metallurgy and Materials Engineering
  • Physical Sciences
    • Heat and Thermodynamics
      • Heat and Temperature
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Bonding
    • States of Matter
      • Solids
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Atomic Structure


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All Rights Reserved, University of Massachusetts Amherst, ©2011


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