Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Comparing Sunscreens

Introduction

Sunscreens are available in many different types and with many different levels of protection. The most common measure of protection from UVB light is the SPF factor. SPF, or sun protection factor, describes the increased amount of time you can be in the sun before your skin starts to burn. For example, a sunscreen labeled SPF 8 means that you can be out in the sun eight times longer before burning than you would without using any protection. Products range from SPF 0 to SPF 50 or higher. But is SPF 50 really twice as protective as SPF 25? You will perform an experiment that will help answer that question.

The ultraviolet band is broken into three types referred to as UVA, UVB, and UVC. The most harmful of these three, UVC light, is absorbed by the atmosphere and does not reach the Earth’s surface. UVA light is deep-penetrating and causes tanning, wrinkles, and some forms of skin cancer. UVB light is also responsible for many skin problems such as sunburns and several forms of skin cancer.

In this experiment, you will measure the amount of UVB light that passes through various sunscreens. You will then compare it with the amount of UVB light from direct sun and analyze the relationship between them.

Objectives

In this experiment, you will

  • Use a UVB Sensor to measure UVB light.
  • Determine the amount of UVB light allowed through five different sunscreens.
  • Analyze the trend of UVB light vs. SPF values.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

Additional Requirements

You may also need an interface and software for data collection. What do I need for data collection?

Standards Correlations

See all standards correlations for Earth Science with Vernier »

Earth Science with Vernier

See other experiments from the lab book.

1Introduction to Data Collection
2Exploring Magnetism
3Where IS North?
4Searching for Iron Ore
5Sea Floor Spreading
6Soil pH
7Soil Salinity
8Soil and Acid Rain
9Soil Temperature
10Temperature
11pH
12Turbidity
13Total Dissolved Solids
14Water Treatment
15Salinity of Ocean Water
16Acid Rain and Its Effect on Surface Water
17Freezing of Ocean Water
18Desalination
19Mapping the Ocean Floor
20Are All Sunglasses Created Equal?
21Comparing Sunscreens
22UV Light and Clothing
23Reflection and Absorption of Light
24The Greenhouse Effect
25Land and Sea Breezes
26Relative Humidity
27Dew Point
28Wind Chill
29Seasons and Angle of Insolation
30Fossil Fuels
31Solar Homes
32Photovoltaic Cells
33Wind Power
P1Air Temperature
P2Air Temperature and Relative Humidity
P3Ground Temperature
P4Barometric Pressure
P5Measuring Particulates
P6Weather Stations

Experiment 21 from Earth Science with Vernier Lab Book

<em>Earth Science with Vernier</em> book cover

Included in the Lab Book

Vernier lab books include word-processing files of the student instructions, essential teacher information, suggested answers, sample data and graphs, and more.

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