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The next box check was at 10am Sunday morning. The ice bags had been melting for about 22 hours.

I stepped outside to find a small family of raccoons gathered around the boxes. At first I figured they were just trying to stay in a cool area,  but then I spotted the blender.  They had been making Margaritas all through the night.

The bag insulated with pink balloons had completely melted, except for four tiny ice chips. This was the first bag to melt completely. 

The aluminum foil ice was looking like it was going to be the next victim.

I began measuring the remaining icebergs.

Insulation Material

Remaining ice chunk size
(approx. cubic cm)

Balloons      0
Aluminum foil  968
Cardboard 2400
goose down 2688
Diapers 2700
Rice Crispies 3300
Styrofoam 5096

The rice crispies were doing very well. Some of the bottom crispies were getting a little wet. This was disturbing to me for some reason. 

I know I can't eat 200 rice crispy treats, but that didn't make it any easier for me to see them going to waste.

The down feathers were doing a pretty good job, but were not as good an insulator as I had hoped. 

For best results using feathers to insulate, use a thick undercoat of tar before applying the feathers. This will raise the R value by a factor of 3.


Sunday morning burned ahead, quickly becoming a 114° F (45° C) crucible. It was so hot, I was worried my camera was going to malfunction.

At 3:30pm, it was time to check the ice.

First out was the aluminum foil bag. As predicted, the ice had all melted.

Crumpled balls of aluminum foil turned out to be the second worst insulators in my test.

Please continue reading page 5 of the insulation testing story.

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