Energy, Games

Experiment on Solar Energy and Colours

Light transforms into heat once it hits an object. But can the object’s colour impact the ‘amount’ of heat produced? The Experiment on Solar Energy and Colours will give children the answer to this question.

Once light hits an object, it indeed produces heat. If, however, an object reflects light, it will only change the light’s direction and no heat is generated. Light colours reflect light. Dark colours ‘absorb’ heat or to be more precise – help convert light into heat.

In summer, we all intuitively wear white or light clothes. Why? Because we’re cooler that way, aren’t we? And why is that? Well, exactly because light-coloured clothing reflects light and does not produce heat. If we wore dark clothes, we’d be definitely much, much hotter. The colour of our clothes does affect the generation of heat.

You can observe this effect easily through an experiment with ice cubes and sheets of paper. To run the experiment, you only need several ice cubes, pieces of paper and sunlight. So let’s make hay while the sun shines 🙂

energia-słoneczna

WE WILL NEED:

  • 3 ice cubes
  • 3 sheets of paper (white, black and one of any other colour)
  • sunny day
  • stopwatch or wristwatch

Instructions

energia-słoneczna

Tips:

  1. On a bright sunny day, put each of the 3 ice cubes on a separate sheet of paper. The sheets should have different colours: white, black and some other colour of choice.
  2. Make sure each ice cube has the same amount of exposure to the sun. No sheet should be placed in a shadow or at a different angle.
  3. Take the stopwatch or watch.
  4. Together with your child record how much time each ice cube needed to melt.
  5. Did all ice cubes melt at the same speed? What colour did the sheet have on which the ice cube melted at the slowest rate? As a result, which colour reflects the most light without converting it into heat? Which colour facilitates best the transformation of light into heat?

During the experiment we deliberately don’t use such words as albedo or thermal energy or solar energy. There’s still time to introduce such terms later 🙂

Enjoy your experiments with TupTupTup.

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