Melt-Proof Container Lab

By: Preeya Modi

Our Job: We have just graduated from Industrial Design School and we are starting our first day on the job with an Engineering Company.

The Problem: Many food products are now made in places a long distance from where they are sold. This is a challenge for the food manufactures. They can't make money from sales, if the food isn't shipped properly. This is presents an even bigger challenge for companies that make frozen foods.

Our Task: We have to design and build a new type of container which will keep ice cold for over 4 hours. It had to have the least amount of heat gain on the truck ride.


  • The container must be no larger than 20 cm. on each side
  • The cost of the container must be as low as possible
  • The thermometer must be visible so data can be collected

Testing: Over the next 4 hours, we read the thermometer and recorded the temperature every hour.

Test#                                      Time                                  Temperature in Celsius

1                                               12:40                                               3 degrees

2                                                1:40                                                5 degrees

3                                               2:40                                                 7 degrees

4                                              3:40                                                  6 degrees

We also had a cost list:                                              per

Felt Sheets:                                  $0.25                        each

Tape:                                              $0.10                        cm.

Wax Paper:                                  $0.15                        10 cm. length

Plastic Wrap:                             $0.20                        10 cm. length

Aluminum Foil:                        $0.25                         10 cm. length

String:                                           $0.05                         10 cm. length

Small Plates:                              $0.15                          each

Large Plates:                              $0.30                         each

Straws:                                         $0.02                         each

Cotton balls:                              $0.05                          each

Our Cost:                 number of units used                          total cost

Wax Paper:                            30 cm.                                                  $0.45

Aluminum Foil:                    110 cm.                                                 $2.75

Large Plates:                       6 plates                                                  $1.80

Tape:                                      60 cm.                                                   $0.60

Straw:                                    1 straw                                                   $0.02

Cotton Balls:                     5 cotton balls                                           $0.25

Plastic Wrap:                      30 cm.                                                     $0.60

Thermometer:                         1                                                           $15

Our Design: First, we wrapped our ice frozen plastic water bottle in 2 layers of Aluminum Foil. Then, we wrapped it in a layer of Wax Paper. After that, we put a few cotton balls in another layer of Aluminum Foil. We added a Plastic Wrap around it. Then, we made a shade out of 6 Large Plates. Finally, we put a thermometer in the final product.

Job Analysis: Our product met all of the design specifications (listed above). The total cost of our materials were $21.47. Our team worked well together. We made compromises and changes when needed. We assigned each team member a role. The quality of our team's work was pretty good overall. Our team was not focused at times, but that was the only issue. The biggest challenge for our company was trying to figure out what materials to use. I think remaining focused and on task would have made the job easier.

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