Q:

# What color absorbs the most heat?

A:

Black is the color that absorbs the most heat among all the colors in the spectrum. Black objects absorb all wavelengths of light and reflect none of them. Absorbed light is converted to heat.

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According to the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) ScienceLine, an object's color represents the wavelengths of light that the object reflects. For example, white objects reflect all wavelengths of light, red objects reflect red wavelengths, and black objects absorb all wavelengths and reflect none. Light energy can be converted into heat energy. Because white objects reflect all light, they do not have as much energy to convert to heat as black objects; therefore light-colored objects are typically cooler than darker objects. To demonstrate heat absorption of various colors, you can place pieces of variously colored construction paper in the sun and record their surface temperatures every few minutes. The dark colors become hotter than the lighter colors.

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## Related Questions

• A:

A material's color affects its ability to absorb light. An object of a certain color reflects that same color but absorbs light from all the other colors. Since light is energy, the more light that an object absorbs, the more heat it absorbs.

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• A:

When the colors that make up light are absorbed by an object, the energy is converted to heat. Objects that absorb more colors within the spectrum create more heat. This is demonstrated by the color absorption of objects that appear black, which heat more quickly than more reflective surfaces.

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• A:

For the additive set of primary colors, mixing red and blue makes magenta, blue and green make cyan, and green and red make yellow. For the subtractive set of primary colors, mixing together magenta and yellow makes red, yellow and cyan makes green, and cyan and magenta makes blue.