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NREL_Solar_Projects - Solar Energy Science Projects...

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S olar E nergy S cience P rojects
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2 Solar Air Heater 4 Solar Water Heater 8 Solar Hot Dog Cooker 10 Effects of Amount and Wavelength of Light on a Solar Cell 13 Glossary CONTENTS
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SOLAR ENERGY SCIENCE PROJECTS S olar energy can be used to heat our homes, heat water, cook our food, and power our lights. These science projects will help you learn about solar energy and how it works. The first three projects focus on different ways to use solar thermal (or heat) energy. The fourth project focuses on solar electric energy. Each project is broken into several parts: The purpose of the experiment The materials and equipment you will need to do the experiment Where to find some of the materials How to assemble and conduct the experiment What you may see during the experiment How the specific energy type works. Some of the experiments may require help from an adult. To help you understand new terms, we have included a glossary in the back. We have also included a resource list on the back page with information on where to get equipment for the experiments. The list also names places where you can find more information on solar energy. We hope you learn something from the experiments. But most of all, we hope you have fun! 1
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2 PROJECT You will construct a solar air heater to attach to a south-facing window. MATERIALS AND EQUIPMENT RESOURCES Cardboard can come from a large appliance or furniture box. The gesso paste, acrylic paint, paintbrush, and graph paper can be purchased at art supply stores or hobby shops. String, duct tape, masking tape, and measuring tape is available at hardware stores. PROCESS Setting Up the Experiment 1 Find a south-facing window and measure its width and height inside the frame. 2 Cut out a piece of cardboard that is 10 inches (25 centimeters) wider and taller than the window. 3 Cut a 5-inch (13-centimeter) square out of each corner to make four 5-inch (13-centimeter) flaps that extend from the top, bottom, and sides of the cardboard. Fold the flaps inward. The area inside the folds should be the same size as the window area. 4 Apply a coat of gesso paste to the inward side of the cardboard. Allow the paste to dry for 10 minutes. 5 After the paste has dried, paint the same side of the cardboard with flat black acrylic paint. Allow the paint to dry. 6 Cut vent holes 3 inches (8 centimeters) wide by 3 inches high at about 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) from the top and bottom folds of the cardboard. 7 Push thumbtacks into the unpainted side of the cardboard around the vent holes on the inside surface. 8 Weave string around the thumbtacks and across the vent holes. This keeps the plastic wrap from blowing through the vent holes. 1 large piece of cardboard Measuring tape Scissors Acrylic gesso paste Flat black acrylic paint Paint brush Thumbtacks (not pushpins) Duct tape Thin string Plastic wrap Masking tape Thermometer 1 piece of graph paper PROJECT 1: SOLAR AIR HEATER
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