"Captivating, intriguing, and thought-provoking" —€” Journal of Chemical Education

We are developing a unique approach that uses affordable IR cameras (e.g., the $349 FLIR ONE) to visualize invisible energy flows and transformations in easy-to-do science experiments. Using this "desktop remote sensing" approach, thermal energy can be readily "seen." Other types of energy that convert into thermal energy can be inferred from thermal signals. Hence, many invisible physical, chemical, and biological processes that absorb or release heat can be visualized, discovered, and investigated.

Experiments

Evaporation, Condensation, & Equilibrium

Put a piece of paper above a cup of water. The water appeared to be cooler than room temperature because of evaporative cooling. The paper somehow recovered the energy lost through evaporation and warmed up dramatically. How did this happen? Read more »

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Four Temperature Zones on a Piece of Paper

A piece of cardstock was placed above a cup of water for a couple of hours. Then it was shifted a bit. Can you explain the pattern that quickly emerged? Read more »

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Absorbing Water Molecules: Paper vs. Plastic

A piece of paper was taped onto half of a sheet of plastic film and then put the sheet on top of a cup of water (with the paper underside). The result showed significant condensation onto the paper but nothing onto the plastic surface. Read more »

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Cardstock and Plastic above Cold Water

A piece of cardstock, half of which was covered by a sheet of plastic film, was placed on top of a cup of cold water. The cardstock and plastic film above the water quickly cooled off. There was no condensation heating effect as shown in the above two clips. Read more »

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What Warms Up the Paper?

A piece of paper approached (but not touched) the surface of water from the perpendicular direction and was warmed up. It appeared as if heat were transferred from cool water to the paper. How is this possible? Read more »

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Capillary Action on Paper

Water molecules diffuse through a paper strip hung above a cup of water (and touching it) through capillary action. This video shows the temperature distribution of the paper. The coolest area on the paper was just above the water line, where the capillary action was the most obvious. Read more »

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Hanging a Piece of Paper above Cold Water

A piece of paper approached (but not touched) the surface of cold water from the perpendicular direction and was cooled down. Read more »

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The Formation of Bénard-Marangoni Convection Cells in Cooking Oil

This video reveals the formation of a "cellular" thermal pattern in heated cooking oil. Read more »

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The Stability of Bénard-Marangoni Convection Cells in Cooking Oil

This video reveals a pretty stable cellular thermal pattern in heated cooking oil. Shaking the frying pan a few times didn't seem to break the pattern. Read more »

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Visualizing the Heat of Solution of Table Salt

There are two containers side by side. Add a couple of spoon of table salt to one of them. Stir to accelerate the dissolving of salt and compare the IR views of the two containers. Read more »

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Produced by Charles Xie. © 2012-2014 The Concord Consortium.

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