UCSB Science Line
Sponge Spicules Nerve Cells Galaxy Abalone Shell Nickel Succinate X-ray Lens Lupine
UCSB Science Line
Home
How it Works
Ask a Question
Search Topics
Webcasts
Our Scientists
Science Links
Contact Information
What color paper will transfer the most thermal energy?
Answer 1:

There are several ways that heat can be transmitted, but in this case we're talking about light, so it's helpful to talk about radiative heat, which is transmitted through infrared radiation that is invisible to our eye. In general, the colour of something might not be as significant as the general material of an object. (For example, is it metal, is it plastic, is it wood?) However, you could do a simple experiment with black and white paper. On average when compared to black paper, white paper reflects more light, so it absorbs less energy from visible and near-visible light. Because white paper absorbs less energy, it may not get as hot.


Answer 2:

This is a somewhat strange question to answer because paper is commonly known as being an insulator. That is, paper is a type of material that reduces the amount of heat transfer from one object to another. Perhaps what you want to know is more along the lines of what color paper will absorb the most thermal energy? In that case, black paper is the best at absorbing electromagnetic radiation because it approximates a black body absorber. You can read more about it on Wikipedia's page concerning black bodies:

black body
Hope that helps!


Click Here to return to the search form.

University of California, Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory National Science Foundation
This program is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and UCSB School-University Partnerships
Copyright © 2015 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Terms of Use