Many children are burned at playgrounds throughout the United States every year. Often, burns occur to children under the age of 10 due to sensitive skin. Because of these incidents, I wanted to develop a model that could predict surface temperature that could be used to provide safer playground materials.
My project uses a number of variables, including; ambient air temperature, convection, reflectivity, and emissivity. Ambient air temperature is the temperature of the air surrounding the material. Convection is the amount of air flow that has access to the material. Reflectivity is the material’s ability to reflect heat, Emissivity is the material’s ability to retain heat.
I also considered how color may affect the temperature of the given material. Lighter colors such as white, tend to reflect light instead of capturing it. Darker colors like black however tend to trap the light and turn it into heat energy, making the surface area hotter. Therefore, a lighter materials temperature would be less than darker colored materials would be. The reflectivity of an object is the inverse of its ability to absorb radiant heat. Reflectivity is easy to see, shiny metals are highly reflective. Another factor that affects temperature is emissivity. Emissivity is not easy to see, you can feel the heat of it, if you move near. Emissivity is also a surface property; materials with a high reflectivity have a low emissivity. This is why shiny metals get hot in the sun; while it is reflecting most of the heat away it can only emit heat slowly so it gets really hot. Based on these factors, the model predicts the surface temperature of the material.