Do some colors absorb more heat than others?
If you put a bunch of pieces of the same kind of paper out in the sun at the same time, they should all get equally warm, right? Let's find out!
- Sunny day
- Five pieces of construction paper in different colors: white, red, green, blue, and black
- Five thermometers
- Timer or clock or watch with alarm
- Piece of lined or graph paper and a pencil
- Fold each piece of construction paper in half the long way.
- Tape the long end and one short end completely shut so that the pieces of paper make skinny pockets.
- Make a graph on a sheet of lined paper. Along the left, make a column listing the construction paper by colour (white, red, green, blue, black). Along the top, make a row of numbered column headings, 0-10.
- Make sure all of the thermometers read the same temperature and write this starting temperature in the “0” column next to each colour on your table.
- Put one thermometer inside each pocket. Then take everything outside and set the pockets down next to each other in the sun.
- Every 10 minutes, peek at each thermometer and write down the temperature on your chart. Do this 10 times.
- Now look at your observations. Did all of the thermometers heat up at the same pace, or did some heat up faster and others slower? Did they end up being the same temperature at the end, or different temperatures?
Different colors reflect and absorb the sun’s energy differently. Dark colors absorb more radiated heat from the sunlight while lighter colors reflect it. That's why wearing a black shirt on a sunny day makes you feel so much hotter than when you're wearing a white shirt!
Terms/Concepts: Absorption, reflection, solar radiation
Disclaimer and Safety Precautions
Education.com provides the Science Fair Project Ideas for informational
purposes only. Education.com does not make any guarantee or representation
regarding the Science Fair Project Ideas and is not responsible or liable for
any loss or damage, directly or indirectly, caused by your use of such
information. By accessing the Science Fair Project Ideas, you waive and
renounce any claims against Education.com that arise thereof. In addition, your
access to Education.com's website and Science Fair Project Ideas is covered by
on Education.com's liability.
Warning is hereby given that not all Project Ideas are appropriate for all
individuals or in all circumstances. Implementation of any Science Project Idea
should be undertaken only in appropriate settings and with appropriate parental
or other supervision. Reading and following the safety precautions of all
materials used in a project is the sole responsibility of each individual. For
further information, consult your state's handbook of Science Safety.