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Use ice cubes to test if dark colours absorb more heat than light colours

Suitable For

Grade 4



Time Required

 <12 Hours



What’s it about?

Different coloured objects absorb different amounts of light or ‘heat’. A black car, for instance will get significantly hotter on the inside than a white car when parked outside in direct sunlight.

People often wear white or very light coloured clothes on a hot summer day, rather than black or dark coloured clothing, as they tend to stay cooler when they wear lighter clothes. In this experiment we will test the heat absorption by measuring how quickly an ice cube melt when it is covered by various coloured fabrics:

Topics covered

Benjamin Franklin, Temperature

What will I need?

  • TRAY

Procedure (Method)

Unfortunately, this section is only available in the e-book version of the project.

How does it work?

Unfortunately, this section is only available in the e-book version of the project.

This science experiment works because different coloured objects absorb different amounts of heat. Dark surfaces such as the black fabric absorb more light and heat than the lighter ones such as the white fabric. This causes the ice cubes under the darker coloured fabrics to melt faster than the ones under the light coloured fabric. White reflects more energy and ‘heat’ whereas black absorbs more energy and ‘heat’. Reflected energy is transferred to another object whereas absorbed energy is not destroyed but converted to heat.

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