Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Frozen versus Room Temperature Rubber Band Stretch
Name: Bari
Status: student
Grade: 6-8
Country: USA
Date: March 2009

How does freezing versus room temperature effect a rubber band's elasticity? I did an experiment and the rubber band exposed to freezing temperature stretched farther than the one at room temperature. Why did this happen?


We need to know some specifics about your experiment.

What temperature did you use for "freezing temperature"? How did you "freeze" the rubber band?

Did you try several different rubber bands to see if the effect that you observed was not an artifact of the specific rubber band? Did you try reversing the situation so that the previously room temperature rubber band was now the frozen one (and vice versa)?

How did you make sure that the same amount of force was used to stretch the rubber band?

Did you freeze the rubber band and attempted to stretch it while still in its frozen state or did you allow it to warm up a bit before stretching it?

As you can see, there are many variables in your experiment that have to be addressed before any proper explanation can be made. Give us more details and maybe we can answer your question.

Greg (Roberto Gregorius

Did you really do this experiment at constant temperature? The Hooke's Law constant for a rubber band should increase at lower, but constant, temperature. However, if your conditions were such that the rubber band warmed slowly with time during the course of the experiment. What you observed is what would happen. The experiment you are trying is not easy. Beginning and ending at room temperature keeps the temperature more or less constant. But starting at a reduced temperature makes for a stiffer 'spring' that loosens as time (and therefore temperature) increases with time. What happens if you start with a rubber band at about 40 C. and let it cool to room temperature? Also be sure that the measurement is made at constant rubber band length. As you can see meeting all these boundary conditions is not so easy.

Vince Calder

Click here to return to the Material Science Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory