Colour Matters


What You Need:
  • Thermometer
  • Heavy corrugated cardboard - 1-inch by 1-inch piece
  • Tape
  • Clock, stopwatch or timer
  • Sunlight
  • 6 cotton t-shirts (or pieces of cloth) in red, orange, yellow, forest green, indigo and violet colours 
  • Tape the thermometer to the centre of the cardboard.
  • Make sure the tape doesn't cover the thermometer bulb.
  • Set the cardboard/thermometer indoors, out of direct sunlight.
  • Lay the red cloth over the cardboard/thermometer so it is touching the thermometer bulb.
  • If indoors, set the lamp such that the bulb is at least 2ft away from and perpendicular to the cardboard/cloth. Turn the lamp on.
  • Wait for 30 minutes and then record the temperature under the cloth.
  • Turn the light off and take the cloth off the cardboard.
  • Repeat steps 4 through 6 using each of the other colours.
  • Repeat the experiment at least 6 times and calculate the average temperatures for each colour.

The darker colours (forest green, indigo, violet) produced the most thermal energy after 30 minutes of intense light. The lighter colours (red, orange, yellow) produced smaller amounts of thermal energy. This shows
that even though violet, indigo and forest green are referred to as cool colors, you will feel warmer if you wear them in the summer as compared to the other colours.