Energy Lab Exercises

[ People Power ] [ Car Energy ] [ Trash Compactor ] [ Radioactive Air ] [ Hot Water ]

- General Notes on Labs -

Lab exercises will require that you study, plan, observe, measure, record, calculate, estimate, conclude, and communicate. You should keep a good field notebook, which I will grade.

People Power

You measure the mechanical and electrical energy a human can generate. You climb stairs, hand-crank an electrical generator, and a couple of other exercises. Data you collect can be translated into numbers relating to efficiency, and it gives you some basis for comparing machines and people as converters of energy into useful work.

Car Energy

You make some measurements, by recording how long it takes to coast down in speed from 65 mph to 55 mph, and calculate the amount of energy it takes to keep your car cruising. Then you can calculate how efficient your car is at converting chemical energy into motion.

Trash Compactor

I give out some generic trash. You have to use it to calculate the volume of trash produced annually by the homes in your home county or city.

Radioactive Air

First we do some simple exercises to familiarize ourselves with simple radiation counting. Then we collect some dust samples from the air, both inside and outside, and measure its radioactivity.

Hot Water

Measure the temperature of your domestic hot water. Figure out how much of it you use to take a shower/bath. Calculate the cost.

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