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JSSS Teacher Support Material

Transfer of heat energy by convection OP 31

Cut a coil out of card and suspend it by a
thread above a light bulb. The heat energy
expands the air lowering its density; this
lower density air rises causing the coil to
rotate. This is simple but effective
demonstration of convection in a gas.
A circle of card about 5 cm across cut into a
spiral works well if you cut it into a spiral
with arms about 1.5 wide leaving a disc In
the middle to attach the thread.
Use a tall metal tube to show the convection
currents in a chimney (a piece of metal pipe
about a metre and a half long and 10 cm in
diameter works well).

If a bunsen is placed at the bottom of the

chimney and small pieces of paper are
introduced into the flame they will be shot
out of the top of the chimney by the rising
air currents!

Place a long glass tube over a lighted candle;

it soon goes out due to lack of oxygen. .
Repeat the experiment but this time lower a
metal plate down the centre of the tube so
that it hangs over the candle flame. The
flame stays alight because hot gases escape
up one side of the plate and fresh air is
drawn down the other bringing oxygen with

JSSS Teacher Support Material

Get a shallow large diameter dish with a flat
bottom. (Plant pot bases work well).
Support the dish on four Styrofoam cups.
Using a dropper, slowly release a small
amount of food coloring at the bottom of the
dish of water. Slowly remove the dropper,
taking care not to stir the water.
Observe what happens
Put a cup of very hot water under the dish in
the middle of the dish.
Repeat the experiment; observe what
happens to the coloured drop.
Using some fresh water, and a cup of hot
water under the dish, place the drop over to
the side of the dish. Observe what happens
to the coloured drop.

Convection currents in a liquid can be easily seen

using a rectangular test tube. The test tube is filled
with water, the bottom righthand corner is heated,
and a few drops of food colouring are dropped in
the opening at the top.
The colour can be seen following the convection