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Black Body Radiation

By: Cameron Chee

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Table of Contents



Data and






Analyzing the Data.


Background Information:


Adiabatic Temperature..








My science experiment is on Black Body Radiation

(what effects the heat of things and why). I think that dark

objects get hotter faster than light objects because when it is

sunny outside, my hair gets really hot and on the same day,

my friend, who has blond hair, says her hair is not as hot as

To test my theory, I will take a light and two pieces of

paper (one black and one white) and keep them under the

light for an hour and a half. Every half an hour, I will note the

temperature of the pieces of paper, with a paper-flat

thermometer. The room temperature should be about 70.5

degrees Fahrenheit. I expect it to be a 2-4 degrees difference

since it is not the real sun, only a lamp.

Analyzing the Data

According to my data, the black sheet of paper was about 2

degrees higher than the white piece of paper every time.

This proves that my hypothesis was correct, that black

objects are, if sometimes only a little bit, always hotter than

white objects. If put under the same circumstances.

You see, to reflect and to absorb are totally different things.

When you hold up a mirror, as you know, you can reflect

sunlight quite well. But as well as a mirror can reflect, a

mirror is terrible at absorbing the heat of the light. This can

be good in some cases, but if you replace the mirror with

glass, and even though some of the heat of the sunlight

passes right through the glass, in about half an hour, the

glass will be warm.

Black and white objects have the same results a mirrors

and glass. The black things absorb about 80% of visible

sunlight and reflect only 20% of it. White objects, on the

other hand, absorb only 20% of visible sunlight and reflect

80% of it. No matter what circumstances the objects are put

in, if they are the same things, the darker object will be the

Background Information

Heat Transmission

Once the light from a sun or lamp hits an object and the

object absorbs it, the light is converted into heat.

Sometimes, the light passes completely through an

object, like a piece of glass. This is called Heat Transmission.

One of the best transmitters is a leaf. The leaves are good

transmitters because even though the photosynthesis inside

of them helps capture the light, there is not enough

photosynthesis to capture very much of the light. Also, a leaf

is very thin, so the light does not have to travel through

much space. If I tried to pass a flashlight through the trunk of

a tree, there would be too much photosynthesis and the

trunk would be too thick.

Water is probably the worlds best transmitter. If put

under the right conditions, the light can penetrate several

hundred feet below the surface of the ocean.

Adiabatic Temperature Changes

On hot days, when the air is warm, the air expands,

becoming less dense, and, as a result, lighter. This means

that it rises upwards, above the cooler air. It expands more

and more overtime. This is because the higher you go, the

less pressure there is.

While air molecules are spreading, they need energy.

When they spread, they become less agitated because they

are not squished together anymore, and they vibrate slower.

Because of this, the temperature if the air molecules go

down, even though no heat has been removed from them.

This is known as Adiabatic Cooling.

As the air molecules cool down, the molecules descend

back to the ground, where the get packed close together

again, making them agitated and hot once more. Then they

float towards the atmosphere again. This is known as

Adiabatic Warming.
In Closing

This Science Experiment was worth all the trouble. I

kept getting frustrated when my experiment did not make

sense, and I had to do it all over again, but when I finished, it

did not seem half as bad as I thought it was. I learned about

the effects color has on you and other things. How light is

converted into heat, how mirrors reflect. Of course it has got

to be worth all the frustration. And it is.


Morton, Jill. Science Projects-FAQs. ColorMatters,

December 29, 2009.

Morton, Jill. Why Color Matters. ColorMatters.

December 29, 2009.

Newton. Color And Heat Absorption. Ask A Scientist.

December 29, 2009.
Heat Reflection. Geography For Kids The Study Of

Our Earth. 1998. December 29,2009.