Thermal Powered Flower - Petrosains

Thermal Powered Flower

Sometimes on a nice clear day and there is a special event nearby, we can see something special in the sky.. a hot air balloon!

Have you ever wondered how a hot air balloon works? How does it get up there?

It’s all about the air! There’s nothing special inside the balloon that makes it float, it’s just the same air that we’re breathing right now. So how does it keep the balloon afloat?

They fly because of a very simple scientific principle: hot air rises.

In this activity, we will explore the physics behind thermal air currents (hot air rising) by harnessing them to power a spinning paper flower!

Let’s try!

What do we need?

Step 1

Cut a flower and leaf templates out of the colored papers

Step 2

Twist each of the flower petals so that they create a fan shape.

Step 3

Trim the straw to 3 inches long, and skewer to 4 inches from the pointed end, using a scissor.

Step 4

Wrap the clay around the straw so that it stands up vertically. Make sure that there is no clay inside the straw.

Step 5

Use a piece of tape to secure the eye screw at the top of the straw. This will help reduce the friction between the skewer and the straw when it rotates.

Step 6

Tape the leaf on the screw eye or washer. Make sure that the leaf won’t get in the way of the rotating flower and won’t rest in the flame.

Step 7

Use a small piece of clay to attach the center of the flower, to the flat end of the skewer. Slip the skewer inside the straw so the pointed end rests on the table.

Step 8

Place the four small candles around the base of the straw and light them. Your flower should begin to spin! Tips: Try adjusting the screw eye to make sure the skewer isn’t touching the straw or try adjusting the angle at which your petals are folded.

What’s happening?

As the flames from each candle heat the air up around them, the air expands and becomes less dense than the surrounding cooler air.

This causes the heated air to rise upwards, creating a gentle, warm breeze that causes your flower to rotate just like a pinwheel spins in the wind!

In our daily life, heat energy is very important and is used in various ways, including for:

– warming the house
– cooking
– drying the washed clothes

Heat energy has many usage in industries as well, such as making and processing the food & manufacture of the glass, the paper, the textile etc.

Does thermal energy cause pollution?

Heat energy and pollution are associated in many ways but only in some cases does the heat energy “cause” the pollution.

The production of heat energy usually involves burning fuels, such as coal, natural gas and petroleum especially in electric generation to power the machines that produces heat, and this process creates pollution in various forms, depending on which fuels are used and how they are burned.

Potential utilization of thermal air current as renewable energy source for electricity generation

1. The solar updraft tower (SUT) is a design concept for a renewable energy power plant for generating electricity from low temperature solar heat.

2. Sunshine heats the air beneath a very wide greenhouse-like roofed collector structure surrounding the central base of a very tall chimney tower.

3. The resulting convection causes a hot air updraft in the tower by the chimney effect. This airflow drives wind turbines, placed in the chimney updraft or around the chimney base, to produce electricity.

How is HEAT ENERGY connected to Sustainable Development GOALS (SDGs)?

Fossil fuels in the global energy system can be replaced with modern, affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy to the world. Access to clean energy is essential to achieve many other SDGs.

Increased use of fossil fuels without actions to mitigate greenhouse gases will have global climate change implications. Therefore, energy efficiency and increase use of renewable energycontribute to climate change mitigation and disaster risk reduction.