Science Projects on the Effect of Color on Heat Absorption

Written by joan collins
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Science Projects on the Effect of Color on Heat Absorption
How do colour and heat interact? (Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

When an object absorbs light, the light energy is transferred to heat energy. The amount of heat that is absorbed depends on whether the colour of the object reflects, absorbs or transmits. Simple science experiments are possible to determine how different colours respond to light and how much heat each colour absorbs.

Effects of House Color on Heat In the Home

Children build several houses using cardboard boxes of the same thickness. All of the houses must be the same size. Paint each house a different colour. Use black, white and other light and dark colours. Set the houses out in a sunny area and place a thermometer inside each house. Take a temperature reading every 30 minutes for at least three hours. Compare your results. Repeat the experiment a second day and determine your results.

Ice Experiment

Ice cubes help determine which colours have the highest level of heat absorption. Cut squares of construction paper or heavy fabric that are big enough to cover an ice cube. Include both light and dark colours. Place the ice cubes out on a table in a sunny location. Cover each cube with a different coloured square. Check the ice cubes every 10 minutes and keep a record of their melting times. Determine which colours covered the ice cubes that melted the fastest.

Heat Absorption for Different Colors

Cut squares from several different colours of construction paper. Buy flat thermometers, the kind that are used to regulate the temperature in a reptile cage, from a pet supply store. Place the thermometers on a table is a very sunny location. Lay a square of a different colour on top of each thermometer. Check the temperatures every 15 minutes. Chart the temperatures to determine which coloured square's temperatures rose at the fastest pace and, ultimately, which one allowed the highest temperatures to be reached.

Heat Retention

Drill a hole the size of a thermometer in the centre of five matching boards, each measuring 5-by-5 inches. Paint each board a different colour, using black, white, red, green and blue paint. Place a thermometer in the hole of each board. Lay the boards under a 500-watt heat lamp. Check and record the temperature of each board every five minutes for 30 minutes. Shut the heat lamp off and continue checking the temperatures every five minutes for 60 minutes. Determine which colour heated up the fastest and which retained heat the longest.

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