Introduction: Solar ovens are metal boxes painted different colors. When you place these boxes in sunlight they will heat up to different temperatures. The hotter ovens are the ones that absorb more of the sunlight. The color of the boxes plays a role in the amount of heat absorption.
After discussing and learning about the light spectrum and light absorption your students should be able to accurately predict the outcome of this experiment before attempting it.
The coolest oven should have been the white one, and the black oven should have been the hottest. The white oven may have dropped in temperature by 1 degree Celsius. The black oven should have heated up by about 4 degrees Celsius over a 15 minute period. The green, blue and red ovens should have had an increase of about 3 degree Celsius.
In one controlled experiment the green oven got hotter than the black oven by 1 degree Celsius. Part of the difference may have been due to measurement accuracy of about 1-2 degrees Celsius. Because a color absorbs all colors of light except for its color, we expect that colored ovens will behave much like a black oven which absorbs all colors.
©Copyright 1998 Elizabeth
Beckett, Holly Bernitt, and Vishwa Chandra.