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Thermal Radiation

Thermal energy is emitted by objects into their surroundings.

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Keeping Warm on a Budget

How do you maximize the heat of a candle to keep you warm without breaking the bank?

Credit: JaminGray
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamingray/421730278/sizes/m/in/photolist-DgtHG-FPhyP-NqtLd-3KVdCG-477ges-4eaewV-4iJ9yD-4j5HDf-5ar7Ua-5fzdwP-5psfWh-5yXkSy-5EWMhA-5RxhUH-66q6pF-6aoSBH-77gthX-79acnK-7r1xmp-7uEQEB-fn8b2f-fmT1T2-brTFX9-fn85qA-fn836N-fn88Zy-f3iY3z-cLKkF3-9bR2T6-beiVtV-bQSn6B-8RheTR-8C1EPB-8C4Mm1-bqgvez-8C1E2v-8C4Lsw-8C1Dp6-c6e5kG-akwe69-ccf3oL-7KFJLH-7AvCTh-btWthr-9ucBiz-9ufC8E-9jGNHp/
License: CC BY-NC 3.0


Candles are very hot, but because the heat dissipates so quickly, we don’t feel the real heat of the candle.  Radiators capture heat and slowly spread it out through their multiple chambers.  Using terra or ceramic or pots and a candle, you can make your own radiator for a much lower cost.  To make the radiator, gather three pots of different sizes.  Make sure that the smallest pot will comfortably fit over your candle.  However, the smaller the entire radiator is, the faster it will heat up.  Drill a hole in the bottom of each pot and place a bolt through the biggest pot’s hole.  Make sure that the bolt you choose can fit through all three pots when they are stacked.  Put a nut on one end of the bolt and then a washer.  Put the bolt through the biggest pot’s hole and add another washer.  After the washer, place another nut to leave space between the big pot and the medium pot and also heat up the radiator faster (the more metal, the more heat).  Repeat the steps for the medium and small pots.  The bolt should have a pattern of nut, washer, pot, washer, nut, washer, pot, washer, nut, and so on.  When the radiator is ready, use bricks to stand the pots over a candle.  Please watch the videos below for a clearer understanding of the process.

Creative Applications

  1. Why do we try to use smaller pots?  What can make your make-shift radiator heat up faster?
  2. Why do we want as much metal in the radiator as possible?
  3. How long will it take the radiator to heat up?




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