8A70.40 - The Greenhouse Effect

Code Number:
Demo Title:
The Greenhouse Effect
Wavelength Transparency
Area of Study:
Planetary Climatology
Two Digital Thermometers, Two Temperature Probes, Flexible Lamp, Strapping Tape, Greenhouse, Camera and Power Supply, Petri Dishes and Water, Overhead Projector.

See also 4B50.60 in Heat and Fluids and 4B50.60 in Astronomy.

Place the greenhouse onto the table and insert one thermometer into the hole in the top of the unit so that the probe is about in the middle (about 2 to 3 inches).  Lay the other probe on top of the unit also about in the center of the glass.  Place the light over the unit and adjust the units angle so that it is about parallel with the light and about 8 to 10 inches distant.  Put the camera on the digital readout of the thermometers and project this onto the monitors.  To demonstrate, turn on the light.  The temperatures should be about the same until 90 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit.  At this time the greenhouse should rise 10 to 30 degrees above the surface temperature depending on length of time the light is left on.  These temperatures will vary depending on the height of the light above the greenhouse.  A trial run should be done an hour before the actual demonstration to assure proper operation.  Do not rub the carbon off the inner plate as this is the heart of the demo.

Place a thermometer with a blackened probe tip directly on an overhead projector.  Turn on the projector and observe the temperature of the probe after three minutes.  The temperature should be in the range of 97 to 100 degrees F.  Now put the petri dish filled with water between the probe and the overhead projector.  Within two to three minutes the temperature should have fallen to 91 to 93 degrees F. (water is absorbing a majority of the infrared radiation).

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Disclaimer: These demonstrations are provided only for illustrative use by persons affiliated with The University of Iowa and only under the direction of a trained instructor or physicist.  The University of Iowa is not responsible for demonstrations performed by those using their own equipment or who choose to use this reference material for their own purpose.  The demonstrations included here are within the public domain and can be found in materials contained in libraries, bookstores, and through electronic sources.  Performing all or any portion of any of these demonstrations, with or without revisions not depicted here entails inherent risks.  These risks include, without limitation, bodily injury (and possibly death), including risks to health that may be temporary or permanent and that may exacerbate a pre-existing medical condition; and property loss or damage.  Anyone performing any part of these demonstrations, even with revisions, knowingly and voluntarily assumes all risks associated with them.