Solar Power

Determining the Optimal Heat Transfer Material for Solar Plant Design

Topics: Temperature, Heat Transfer, and Specific Heat
This activity covers temperature, heat transfer, and heat capacity in the context of renewable and sustainable energy. The setting is a solar plant that uses thousands of mirrors to reflect sunlight onto the top of a tower, where the thermal energy from the sun is transferred to a liquid. The liquid then flows into an electric plant where the stored thermal energy is converted to electrical power. By designing and testing experiments, students consider heat capacity and boiling point as they establish the best substance for storing and transferring thermal energy.