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Energy Lab sample essay

Part A.

3. Black can heats faster than the silver one. The reason is that dark colored objects absorb energy better than light ones. Can painted flat black would absorb most of the energy that falls on it, while silver can acts as a reflector.

4. Black can looses its heat faster because of the Stefan-Boltzmann’s Principle. This principle says than the rate of the emitted heat is proportional to the object temperature in fourth power. Therefore, the body with higher temperature emits a lot more energy than the body with lower temperature. Therefore, the black can cools off faster than the silver can.

5. Incoming light wave of the heat lamp creates electric field directed at the cans. Due to the influence of this electric field, kinetic energy of the electrons in the can surface increases, thus electrons move fasters causing vibrations, giving up kinetic energy into heat. The air inside the can is also heated due to the interaction with the atoms of the can’s body. The atoms of the air in their turn interact with the thermometer.

Part. B.

11. Beaker and thermometers with the soil got hotter, while beaker and thermometers with water got cooler because specific heat of water is 5 times as larger as specific heat of soil. Soil can not hold as much energy as water and radiates it away.

12. Beaker with soil cooled off faster that beaker with water, due to Stefan-Bolzman Principle. Beaker with soil had higher temperature, therefore, according to the above mentioned principle it emitted more radiation and lost heat faster.

13. Beaker with water held the absorbed energy better because the special heat of water is 5 times as large as special heat of soil. Moreover, since water temperature increases slower, it does not emit as much energy as soil due to Stefan-Boltzmann Principle.

Summary questions

If you were asked to design container that would absorb sunlight and store the heat generated so that the heat is released slowly on a cold winter day, what would you choose for materials? Why?
I would select a black container filled with water. Black surface absorbs large fraction of incoming energy that would be stored in water. Specific heat of water is rather high, therefore, it can store large amount of energy, without getting hot fast. Since the temperature of water increases slowly, it will hold the energy and release it slower than other materials due to Stefan-Boltzmann principle. .

Why is it cooler on a sunny day and warmer at night at the beach that it is further away from the beach?
Because of the high specific heat, water heats up slower than other materials. Therefore, the temperature of water is always lower than the temperature of soil or sand. On the other hand, due to Stefan-Boltzmann principle water cools off slower because it heats up slower. Therefore, when sand and soil have already emitted most of their energy, temperature of water is higher.

Where are possible sources of error in this experiment? Are the results of this experiment what you expected from the introductions?
Maybe the can material should be taken into consideration. For now, I don’t see other sources of errors.
The results don’t differ much from my expectations, because facts about “black bodies” as well as “sea and beach” are well-known.

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