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Investigatory Project in Physics IV

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The students’ wish to extend their appreciation and gratitude to the following persons who gave some of their valuable contribution toward the completion and success of this study.

To our parents and relatives who gave us permission, advices, and suggestions towards the completion of our project.

To our English teacher and adviser, Ma’am Maricel Wong, who teach us how to use the English language effectively. Especially when having a defense.

To our Physics teacher, Sir Erdie Asuncion, who gave us valuable ways on choosing what kind of project to investigate, in order to present of project properly.

To all of you, Thank you so much and God Bless!

It is almost summer, but due to our global climate change, hurricanes typhoons, and sudden rain showers, weren’t very surprising to come. In this investigatory project, we will prove that cooking oils can be made to become a source of light. It can be used as an alternative when we ran out of candles in times of emergency.

Cooking oil is a major kitchen item in Filipino households. It is also used substantially in fast-food outlets, where it is used in different stages of food preparations. Ordinarily, used cooking oil is discarded. This waste oil pollutes and clogs canals and sewerage systems.

This study aims to answer following questions:

*Will the oil produce smoke or bad smells as it burns?
*Would the same effect happen using a matchstick?
*Which one is brighter? The light from the oil or the light from a candle?


*Thermal physics ~ Is the study of the statistical nature of physical systems from an energentic perspective. *Energy ~ is an indirectly observed quantity which comes in many forms, such as kinetic energy, potential energy, radiatn energy, and many others.


Heating an oil changes its characteristics. Oils that are healthy at room temperature can become unhealthy when heated above certain temperatures. When choosing a cooking oil, it is important to match the oil’s heat tolerance with the cooking method. A 2001 parallel review of 20-year dietary fat studies in the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and Spain found that polyunsaturated oils like soya, canola, sunflower, and corn oil degrade easily to toxic compounds when heated. Palm oil contains more saturated fats than canola oil, corn oil, linseed oil, soybean oil, safflower oil, and sunflower oil. Therefore, palm oil can withstand the high heat of deep frying and is resistant to oxidation compared to highly unsaturated vegetable oils. Since about 1900, palm oil has been increasingly incorporated into food by the global commercial food industry.


~ vegetable oil
~a paper towel
~a glass or ceramic bowl
~matches or a lighter


~ Pour about 1/2 an inch of vegetable oil into the bowl. You can use regular cooking oil, canola oil, peanut oil or any other kind of vegetable cooking oil. ~ Tear a paper towel into four quarters. Crumple one of the quarters into a ball and place it into the bowl with the oil. You want the oil to soak the entire ball of paper, but you also want the paper to stick up above the surface of the oil. ~ Place the bowl on a table. Use a match or lighter to carefully light the top edge of the paper towel.

The fire continues to burn, but the paper towel does not burn up. As long as there is oil in the bowl, the flame will continue without burning up the paper.

In conclusion, we have just made is an oil lamp, very similar to the ones that have been used for thousands of years. The flame of the match does not have enough heat to set a pool of vegetable oil on fire. In fact, if you stuck the match into the oil, it would go out. The paper towel serves as a wick, to carry the oil up to the flame. Since there is only a small amount of oil in the paper, and it is spread out very thin, it can get hot enough for something to happen. The flame causes the oil in the paper to break down, forming a flammable gas. This gas is what you are burning. As the oil in the paper changes and is burned, more oil soaks up into the paper. The oil actually keeps the paper cool enough so that it does not burn, except at the very edge where you first lit it. The light from the oil is brighter than a candle, and even if you are out of candles, almost everyone has some cooking oil in the kitchen. The vegetable oil burns very cleanly, and should not produce smoke or bad smells.


We have learned that this project could be used for emergency lighting or could replace candles which, if you burn them every night, cost a lot over the course of a year. This project is just another small step towards a better life and serves to remind us that we don’t have to buy every thing we need. Many things can be made at home and used for their purpose without it costing too much at all.


We recommend the students this kind of lamp because it is fast and easy to make at home, and it’s a safe, reliable light to have around during power outages.

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