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How color affects heat by absorption of light experiment

Postby agfric » Tue Feb 02, 2016 2:15 pm

My son is in 5th grade and tried the "How does color affect heating by absorption of light?" and we are not seeing much of a difference between the darkest colors(black) and the others. Has anyone else performed this experiment and received similar results. Please respond soon because his science fair is in 15 days. We are considering using food coloring to color the water and try that in place of covering the jars with construction paper. Any helpful feedback would be great.

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Re: How color affects heat by absorption of light experiment

Postby tdaly » Fri Feb 05, 2016 9:16 am

Hi agfric,

Welcome to the Forums! A few more details will help us help you more effectively. I'll get an email when you reply, so I will get back to you quickly.

Can you be a bit more specific about how different the temperatures of the jars were? If the differences were a few tenths of a degree, then something is likely slightly off with the experiment. If the differences were a few degrees, then your results are in line with what I would expect.

How tightly were the pieces of paper attached to the jars? This would affect how effectively heat was transferred to them. It's important that the paper is wrapped very tightly, with very little space between the paper and the jar.

Did you use 1 quart jars or larger jars? Were all of the jars the same size?

What other colors of construction paper did you use? If the colors were all relatively dark (e.g., blue, purple, brown), then the differences between the final jar temperatures will be smaller than if you used some light colors as well (e.g., white, yellow, tan, orange).

Post back with some additional details, and we'll help you sort this out!
All the best,

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Re: How color affects heat by absorption of light experiment

Postby BenIB » Thu Mar 02, 2017 10:01 pm

Hello, I am a high school student in Canada and I am doing this color heat absorption of light experiment as a design lab in IB Physics.
I have found myself stuck as one my requirements is to show graphical analysis on relationships of two variables. I had hoped that the wavelength (representing color) would be my independent variable while the temperature would be the dependent variable. The problem is that I cannot find a clear and defined relationship between these variables. I have done a lot of online research but have not been too successful. The main problem is with the use of incandescent light bulb where the radiant power of different colors is distributed unevenly where a proper equation for the distribution cannot be found. So should I attempt to disregard these errors with the bulb and push the relationship between wavelength and temperature as an argument? If yes, then would it be theoretically true that the longer the wavelength, the higher the temperature difference; correlating to the spectrum where violet would absorb the most heat while red would absorb the least?

This lab is going on a bit late, so an answer as soon as possible is much appreciated
Thank you for any replies.

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