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41A: INVERSE SQUARE LAW FOR RADIATION

Aims
(1) Explore the inverse square law with thermal radiation;

Introduction
The inverse square law permeates the natural world, and hence is a central tenet of much of physics. Broadly speaking, if the inverse square law applies to some phenomenon, then the magnitude of the effect decreases as the square of the distance: if you double the distance from the source, the magnitude of the effect drops by a factor of four; if you double the distance again, the overall magnitude drops by a factor of sixteen; etc. The most common examples of the inverse square law are in the fields of gravitation (where the magnitude of the gravitational force between two masses varies as the inverse square of the distance between them) and electrostatics (where the magnitude of the electrostatic force between two charges varies as the square of the distance between them). Here, we are interested in how the intensity of themal radiation varies with distance from the source. It is interesting to note that in this example, a compelling argument “justifying” inverse square behaviour could be derived in terms of how the emitted thermal radiation is distributed over spherical shells of everincreasing radius around the source (each shell having a surface area of 4πr2); an argument which has parallels in the field theories of gravitation and electromagnetism. It is of little wonder that physicists like spheres…!

Procedure
You are provided with a Thermal Radiation Sensor (Pasco model TD-8553), which provides an output in millivolts proportional to the intensity of the detected thermal/infrared radiation; and a Stefan-Boltzmann Lamp (Pasco model RD-8555) as a source of thermal radiation. The Radiation Sensor has a spring-clip shutter, which can be opened and closed by sliding the shutter ring forward or back. During experiments, the shutter should be closed when measurements are not actively being taken. This helps reduce temperature shifts in the Sensor's thermopile reference, which might cause the response to drift. In between measurements, you should also shield the body of the Sensor from the Lamp, so that the temperature of the Sensor itself does not increase significantly. You are provided with a reflectivelycoated insulating foam sheet for this purpose. The Lamp is a high temperature source of thermal radiation, and the Lamp filament provides a good approximation to a point source when viewed "head on". Please note that the voltage into the Lamp has been preset to 10V, and should NOT be increased, as higher voltages may burn out the filament.

WARNING: the Lamp is HOT. Avoid contacting the Lamp with skin, clothes, paper, etc.!!!!

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every 5cm from 20cm to 50cm. In addition. The equipment has been set up for you.You will be exploring how the intensity of the thermal radiation emitted from the Lamp varies with distance from the Lamp. Why is it important that the Sensor casing not heat up significantly as you take your measurements? Measure the output from the Sensor every 0. With the Lamp OFF. Turn on the power supply to illuminate the Lamp: remember that the Lamp is HOT and BRIGHT. You will need to subtract this average ambient value from your measurements with the Lamp on in order to determine the contribution to your measurements from the Lamp alone. the voltage to the Lamp should not exceed 10V. so special care must be taken: do not touch or look directly at the Lamp! Also. Align axes of filament and sensor radiation sensor Top View metre ruler d radiation sensor zero point aligned with centre of filament Power Supply (10 V M AX!) metre ruler millivoltmeter Figure 41. Remember to close the shutter between measurements! Average your values to determine the ambient level of thermal radiation. and record the Sensor output at 10cm intervals. slide the sensor along the metre ruler. and determine the uncertainty in your estimate. after considering a few important questions. You can denote the Lamp-Sensor distance by d. Checkpoint 1: ask a demonstrator to review your work 41A–2 . For this next part of the experiment. the central axis of the Lamp aligns with the central axis of the Sensor. Why are these points important? Firstly. every 2cm from 10cm to 20cm. we need to determine the background or ambient level of thermal radiation.1: Equipment set-up for Procedure A The zero-point of the metre ruler aligns with the centre of the Lamp filament. you should be able to justify some of the decisions which were made. remember to make each reading quickly. and the height of the Radiation Sensor is at the same level as the centre of the Lamp filament. It's probably a good idea to set up a Table to record your data before you start: look ahead to see what other columns your Table should have. By looking at the setup. so that the temperature of the Sensor stays relatively constant. as discussed above. every 1cm from 5cm to 10cm. and every 10cm from 50cm to 80cm.5cm from 3cm to 5cm. Place the reflective and insulating heat shield between the Lamp and the Sensor between each reading.

but if you have time you are certainly welcome to do so. or hypotheses. 2. 5 (. 20. are any of our assumptions breaking down there? … (41. about an hour. What is the significance of the "1. and a is some constant. we would write: I = a/d 2 = ad−2 … (41. if we take the logarithms of both sides and simplify. Remember to subtract the ambient thermal radiation from your measurements to get the contribution due to the Lamp! You are not required to include error bars in your graph.is that the intensity of thermal radiation due to the illuminated Lamp depends on the inverse square of distance from the Lamp. we see that: log10(I ) = log10(ad−2 ) = log10(a ) + log10(d−2 ) = −2log10(d ) + log10(a ) Compare this last result to the simple formula for a straight line. 41A–3 . d is the distance between the Lamp and the Sensor. within 10cm) and the region which is "away from the lamp" (beyond 10cm from the filament).This non-linear spacing of measurements is a common one in experimental science. We can write this in a form which is easier to appreciate by linearising the equation. On your graph. against log10(d ) on the x-axis.2) Discussion and Conclusion Complete your experimental write up with a summary discussion and conclusion. y = mx + c. +1 Checkpoint) Practice your uncertainty calculations and plotting by performing a proper uncertainty analysis on your graph (calculate the uncertainties and plot error bars.the idea that we want to test scientifically . identify the region which is "near the lamp" (say. For example. …)" scaling? [Hint: what are the logs of these numbers?] Science is fundamentally about the testing of ideas. Our hypothesis here . talking about what you have learned today! Checkpoint 2: ask a demonstrator to finish marking your experiment! Extension work (optional. etc). what would you expect to find if our hypothesis is correct? Test the hypothesis of thermal radiation intensity depending on the inverse square of distance by plotting an appropriate graph. If you plot log10(I ) on the y-axis. Are either or both of these regions linear? What does linearity indicate about the dependence of thermal radiation intensity on distance? Explain what is happening in the region near the lamp: in particular. 10. 50. In mathematical terms.1) where I is the intensity of radiation due to the illuminated Lamp.

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