Do Black/Dark Colors Gather More Heat (Experiment)?

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MATERIALS:

  • 2 cans
  • Black paint
  • White paint
  • Painting brush
  • Water
  • Thermometer
See the source image
See the source image
See the source image
See the source image
See the source image

ORDER OF ACTIONS: 

  1. Paint one of the cans black, and the other one white.
  2. Fill the cans with water and record the temperature of both cans.
  3. Leave the cans in sun for about 1 hour.
  4. Measure the temperature in each can.

RESULTS

The water in the black can is warmer than the water in the white one.

WHY DID THIS HAPPENED?

Dark surfaces, and especially black ones absorb more heat. Since they absorb most of the light, they look black to us. Light colors, like white, reflect light/heat much more and gather less of it. They reflect most of the light back to us and appear white. That’s why we feel cooler when we wear light color clothes during the summer.

The reason this happens relates to energy levels in the surface atoms of the material. Dark color atoms want to absorb light since it makes them more stable. White colors reflect light back, since absorbing them would increase their energy levels. The color white is actually composed of all the different colors you see in a rainbow, but when they are all mixed together they appear white.

Please comment below with any questions.

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