How Do Different Colors Absorb And Re Emit Radiant Energy?

2210 words - 9 pages

When it is summertime and I go on a run, my parents say, “Make sure you wear a light shirt!” Once, I asked why, and they said it was because the light colors don’t absorb as much heat, so I wouldn’t be as hot. The opposite was for cold weather. When I had to go outside for a while in the cold, I made sure to wear a black or dark top, because then it would absorb more heat and keep me warmer. I have always been curious about how this works, and if it works, for that matter (Parents can be wrong, you know). Also, the concept of energy simply intrigues me. This is why I decided to find out more about how colors on a shirt, or anywhere else, can affect temperature. When I started my research, the literature (or scientists) explained that a color will, in fact, affect the temperature of that object. This temperature is measured by using an infrared thermometer and a couple of large math equations. With this information, one can then calculate the rate of energy absorption of each color.
For this discussion, I am referring to thermal energy, also referred to as heat. Heat is actually light, but it is a light that is invisible to us, or not in the visible portion of the Electromagnetic Spectrum. Infrared light is the heat that we refer to normally and is located just below the color red in the Electromagnetic Spectrum. Its name is literally its definition. “Infra,” which means “below,” then “red.” So, infrared, or “below red,” is below red on the Electromagnetic Spectrum. We can see things that do not give off their own light because of reflection. When a color reflects light, the light reaches our eyes and allows us to see the color. This means that if we turn the light off in the room, we cannot see the colors because they do not give off their own light, and there is nothing reflecting off of them (What is Thermal Infrared Energy?).
Scientists have begun to look into different classifications of infrared energy. In the Electromagnetic Spectrum, the colors are located in the visible light part of the spectrum. Infrared light, though, lies beneath the visible spectrum, so we cannot see the infrared light that anything emits. Infrared is located above the microwave part of the Electromagnetic Spectrum. Infrared light has a range of different wavelengths, including near infrared and far infrared. Near infrared is the closest infrared to the visible spectrum, and therefore has a shorter frequency. Far infrared has a longer frequency, because it is farther away from the visible spectrum then near infrared (The Electromagnetic Spectrum).
The sun gives off heat, along with light. There are waves of seven different types, including infrared waves. Far infrared light is not dangerous, and can heat up our bodies, and can go as far as two to three inches into your skin. The only way it poses a hazard is if you are to hot, and get overheated. Far infrared lighting is often used outside of showers to provide warmth. Near infrared is not hot. It is has more...

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