Recommended for Middle School through High School.
Alternative energy sources are energy sources other than the nonrenewable fossil fuels—coal, petroleum, and natural gas. Solar energy, or energy from the sun, is one energy source alternative. A passive solar heating system uses no pumps, fans, or mechanical devices. Insulation and heat storage are important factors in such a system. A thermal mass is a material that absorbs and stores heat. Thermal masses can keep a home from heating or cooling too fast.
In this experiment, you will examine the effectiveness of a thermal mass. Two model homes, one with a thermal mass and one without, will be heated by a light bulb. Two Temperature Probes will monitor their temperatures throughout a simulated day and night. You will then use what you learn to design and build a model solar home.
In this experiment, you will
Use Temperature Probes to measure temperature.
Find the relationship between thermal mass and the ability of a solar home to retain heat.
Design, build, and test a model solar home.
Sensors and Equipment
This experiment features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.