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A black plastic tube is filled with air, sealed, and tethered. After a few minutes, the tube slowly rises into the air.
What Does It Teach?
Warning: Do not release the Solar Tube into the air. At higher altitudes it would become an aviation hazard!
Explanation: Why do some objects float and others sink?
Archimedes discovered that an object is buoyed upward with a force equal to the weight of the fluid displaced. An object displaces or takes the place of an equal volume of fluid: air, water, milk, etc. An object will float in a fluid whenever its mass is less than the mass of the fluid displaced; otherwise, it will sink. For example:
Why does the Solar Tube initially sink and then float in air?
Inside Air + Tube = 1000 g -- Displaced Air = 500 g
Inside Air + Tube = 1000 g -- Displaced Air = 1000 g
Inside Air + Tube = 1000 g -- Displaced Air = 1500 g
Data: Mass of the empty rolled Tube: _______ Width of the flat Tube: _______ Length of the flat Tube: _______ Outside air temperature: _______ Tube temperature at lift-off: _______
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Students can use the Solar Tube to plan and conduct an investigation to determine the effect of placing objects made with different materials in the path of a beam of light.
Students can use the Solar Tube to design, test, and refine a device that converts energy from one form to another.
Students can use the Solar Tube to plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.
Students can use this tool to develop and use a model to describe how waves are reflected, absorbed, or transmitted through various materials.
Students can use the Solar Tube to apply scientific principles to design, construct, and test a device that either minimizes or maximizes thermal energy transfer.
Students can use the Solar Tube to develop a model or experiment to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.
Students can use the Solar Tube to conduct investigations about technological devices use the principles of wave behavior and wave interactions with matter to transmit and capture energy.
Students can use the Solar Tube to design, build, and refine a device that works within given constraints to convert one form of energy into another form of energy.
Students can use the Solar Tube in an investigation to design a solution to a complex real-world problem by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable problems that can be solved through engineering.
Given a sunny day and the Solar Tube, students are treated to a simple device that converts light energy into heat energy.
On a sunny day, allow students to create their own Solar Tubes using a variety of materials to investigate how the light energy conversion is improved or halted.
Given a sunny day and the Solar Tube, students can make a practical connection between principles of wave behavior and wave interaction with matter.
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