# CONVECTION. cold water (red)

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1 CONVECTION Name(s) PART 1 Convection and Density The physical world around us is constantly changing. The activities in this section of the unit will introduce a new model (convection) which is very powerful in its ability to explain many of the changes we see occurring around us. A model of convection can help explain the causes for continental drift as well as many weather phenomena. Activity #1 Preliminary Observation Obtain a large, clear, flat-bottomed container, two baby food jars, red and blue food coloring, rubber bands, and aluminum foil. Fill the large plastic container until it is nearly full with room temperature water. Put several drops of red food coloring in one of the baby food jars, and put several drops of blue food coloring in the other jar. In a few minutes you are going take the jar containing red food coloring and fill it to the brim with very cold water. You will also take the jar containing blue food coloring and fill it to the brim with very warm water. DO NOT DO THIS YET! After filling the jars with water you will cover the tops with aluminum foil and put a rubber band around the neck of each jar. The jars will then be lowered into the large tub and positioned on their sides as is depicted below hot water (blue) cold water (red) Predictions--Answer these questions before you start the activity! 1) What do you think you will observe if holes are punctured in the foil covering the jar containing cold water while it is immersed in the tub of water? (Give a reason for your prediction.) I-27 CALVIN COLLEGE

2 1-4 CONVECTION 2) What do you think you will observe if holes are punctured in the foil covering the jar containing hot water while it is immersed in the tub of water? (Give a reason for your prediction.) Observations Begin by preparing the jar of very cold water and placing it in the tub as shown on the previous page. After the jar has been placed in the large container, quickly puncture two fairly large holes into the foil with the point of a pen or pencil. 3) What do you observe? 4) Is this observation consistent with your prediction? (If not, explain what is different.) 5) Do you want to modify the prediction you made for the jar containing hot water? If so, how? UNIT 1 SCIENTIFIC MODELS I-28 CALVIN COLLEGE

3 Now prepare the jar of hot water and place it in the tub as shown on page 1. (You may leave the jar of cold water in the bottom of the container if you wish.) After the jar has been placed in the large container, quickly puncture two fairly large holes into the foil with the point of a pen or pencil. 6) What do you observe? 7) Is this observation consistent with your prediction(s)? (If not, explain what is different.) Now that you have predicted the outcome of a series of events and have observed to see if your predictions were accurate, it is time to try and make a somewhat general conclusion (inference) about water at different temperatures. After doing so you will continue the scientific process in order to see if your inferences are correct. Ultimately, the goal is to make a model for water that will explain its behavior when different temperatures of it are brought together. 8) What do you conclude about the behavior of water when two different temperatures of it are brought together? I-29 CALVIN COLLEGE

5 3) What do you predict will happen if you try this experiment again, but instead this time you reverse the procedure and invert the cold, clear flask over the warm, blue flask? Now try the experiment again, this time with the cold water on top and the warm water on bottom. 4) What did you observe when the cold, clear water was inverted over the warm, blue water? Was this consistent with your prediction? 5) Based on these two activities, make a final, general statement about what occurs when warm water and cold water are brought together. 6) Based on these two activities, make a final, general statement about the temperature of water and its density. I-31 CALVIN COLLEGE

6 1-4 CONVECTION EXTENDING THE MODEL: Some Warnings You have considered and tested a model that predicts what will occur when cold and warm water are mixed. It is now appropriate to ask how "universal" this model is: does it work for all temperatures of water, and can it be extended to other fluids besides water? (A fluid is any material that can flow from one place to another. By this definition, any object that is hard and holds its shape is not a fluid. Examples of things that are fluids at room temperature include water, alcohol, gasoline, and mercury. Even silly putty can be considered a fluid, since it will flow very slowly.) Extending the Model for water Does water always become more dense as it cools? If you are not sure, then consider cubes of ice in a glass of water (you will not find them lying on the bottom of the glass), or consider where ice first forms when a lake begins to freeze in the winter (the top). From these observations it is clear that as water becomes very cold, its density must begin to decrease. Thus, in order to have a more accurate model for the way water of different temperatures mix, we have to say something like, "When water at two different temperatures is mixed, the warmer water tends to go up and the cooler water tends to go down, except for when the water is really cold, in which case the cooler water may tend to rise." This is obviously a very clumsy way to communicate our model for water. A better way is to say, "When two containers of water are mixed, the denser water will tend to go down and the less dense water will tend to go up." In general, the density of water increases the colder it gets, until the temperature of the water reaches about 4 Celsius (39 Fahrenheit). Water that gets colder than this begins to become less dense. Remember that water freezes at 0 C (32 F). Therefore, ice first forms on the top of lakes because the very coldest water in a lake (when ice begins to form) is less dense than the surrounding water, and it tends to rise to the top. Extending the Model to other fluids Will this model for water work for other fluids as well? Fortunately, water is unusual in that it begins to become less dense below a certain temperature. Most fluids just continue to get more dense as they get colder. Thus, it is pretty safe to assume that for almost all fluids besides water, the colder the fluid gets, the more dense the fluid becomes. UNIT 1 SCIENTIFIC MODELS I-32 CALVIN COLLEGE

7 PART 2 Driving Convections in Liquids Thus far you have experimented with mixing two portions of water together when they are initially at different temperatures. If you had observed these mixtures for a long time, you would have noticed that the water eventually becomes thoroughly mixed. This would have indicated that the entire container of water had reached the same temperature. The activities presented in this section will investigate the result of continually adding heat to a portion of a container of water so that the water temperature of the whole container never becomes uniform. ACTIVITY #1 A CONTROLLED EXPERIMENT You will observe the currents existing in a container of water by placing a small drop of food coloring in the water and then watching how the drop moves. Before you do so, you need to practice placing the food coloring in the water, and you need to check for the behavior of the drop when there are no currents in the rest of the water. Begin by filling the large, clear container with an inch or two of water. Before adding a drop of color the container should sit undisturbed on the table for a minute or two in order to make sure there are no currents in the water created from when you filled the container. When the water has settled, one drop of blue food coloring should be placed within the water, and you should observe its behavior. Learning the best technique for dispensing a single drop takes some practice, so you may want to try this several times. If you are using an eyedropper, the best results are obtained when the equivalent of only one drop of food coloring is drawn into the eye dropper to begin with. Lower the eyedropper into the water rather than dropping the droplet onto the surface of the water. Of course, you must remove the eye dropper from the water carefully so as not to create currents with this motion. After you have practiced this several times, the water will begin to get blue all over. Be sure to start with fresh, clear water when this happens so that you can see your drops better. When you have become proficient at the techniques described above, you may begin. Procedure Place a drop of blue coloring in the bottom center of the container as shown below. 1) Does the coloring appear to be more dense or less dense than the water in the container? How do you know? I-33 CALVIN COLLEGE

8 1-4 CONVECTION 2) Observe the drop for a minute or two, and describe the drop s behavior when there are no currents in the water. ACTIVITY #2 HOT AND COLD CURRENTS You will now investigate the currents produced in water when some parts of the water are kept cool and another part of the water is heated up. Start with a fresh container of water (one or two inches deep). Place the container on top of four Styrofoam cups filled with ice and one Styrofoam cup filled with very hot water. The hot water should be located near the center of the container, and the four cups filled with ice should be positioned near the four corners of the container. (See the diagram below.) Before you begin: 1) Indicate on the diagram above the regions of the water that will be relatively hot and those regions that will be relatively cool. 2) Predict what you will observe if a drop of food coloring is placed on the bottom of the container directly above the hot water. UNIT 1 SCIENTIFIC MODELS I-34 CALVIN COLLEGE

9 You may now begin. (Do not add the food color until the water in the container appears to have settled from when you placed it on the cups.) Observe the motion of the drop for a minute or two, and then indicate with arrows on the diagram below the motion of the drop. 3) What is your explanation for the motion of the currents you observed in the container? Comment on as many aspects as you can. (Make sure you include an explanation for why the colored water eventually moves downward.) ACTIVITY #3 HOT AND COLD CURRENTS: In the last activity, the water in the center of the container rose because it heated up and became less dense. 1) Where do you think the water came from which replaced the water rising to the top of the container? 2) Predict what the motion of the drop of food color will be if you follow the procedure given for Activity #2, but instead of placing the drop directly above the heat source, you place it at a point between the hot cup and one of the cold cups. I-35 CALVIN COLLEGE

10 1-4 CONVECTION Now try this activity, and indicate the motion of the drop on the diagram below with arrows. 3) Did your results come out as predicted? Explain why or why not. 4) Indicate, using arrows, the motion of the currents of water in the container depicted below. Heat 5) Indicate, using arrows, the motion of the currents of water in the container depicted below. Heat UNIT 1 SCIENTIFIC MODELS I-36 CALVIN COLLEGE

11 The currents you have been observing are called convection currents. They occur within any fluid that is unequally heated. In particular, they are the primary cause for the underwater currents in oceans and lakes. The primary cause of the currents on the surfaces of oceans and lakes is wind. As you will learn in Part 3 of this section and in the next section on weather, winds are caused by convection currents in the air. 6) The diagram below depicts the outer crust and mantle of the earth. Indicate on this diagram (using arrows) how the magma in the mantle flows. North America crust Atlantic Ocean Break in crust crust Europe region of cooler mantle region of hotter mantle region of cooler mantle 7) Do you expect the distance between North America and Europe to increase, decrease, or stay the same? Explain your answer. I-37 CALVIN COLLEGE

12 1-4 CONVECTION PART 3 Driving Convections in Gases You have seen that convection currents can occur in liquids as relatively hot portions of the liquid become less dense than the surrounding liquid and flow upward at the same time as relatively cool, more dense, portions of the liquid flow downward. The activities given here will investigate convection currents in gases. To begin, some general properties of gases and chemical reactions are explored ACTIVITY #1 SOLID + LIQUID =? What do you get if you combine a solid with a liquid? Sometimes you just get a wet solid, but other times you may produce something new, having completely different properties than the original substances. In a situation such as that, we say that a chemical reaction has occurred. Obtain the following materials: large balloon baking soda vinegar empty pop bottle (or similarly shaped bottle) Pour about 50 ml of vinegar into the pop bottle. Scoop about 15 ml of baking soda into the balloon. Stretch the opening of the balloon over the top of the pop bottle without letting any of the baking soda fall into the bottle. (See diagram to the right.) Identify all of the solids, liquids, and gases inside your balloon/bottle system. Solids: Liquids: Gases: Raise the balloon so that the baking soda falls into the bottle. At the same time someone should hold the neck of the balloon tightly so that it does not come off the neck of the bottle. You may want to agitate the bottle a bit to help the vinegar react thoroughly with the baking soda. 1) What are the major changes that have occurred in your balloon/bottle system? UNIT 1 SCIENTIFIC MODELS I-38 CALVIN COLLEGE

13 2) What has increased by the most in your system, the amount of solid, liquid, or gas? ACTIVITY #2 PROPERTIES OF THE GAS You will now explore some of the properties of the gas produced in the vinegar and baking soda reaction. A) Fill a very large plastic tub with gas from the air around you. (Or has this already been done for you?) B) Observe that if you hold a lighted match inside the tub that the match does not go out. C) After extinguishing the match, blow some soap bubbles into the air so that some of them go into the plastic tub. Observe their behavior. 1) How does the density of the bubbles you blew compare to the density of the gas (air) in the room and in the plastic tub? Explain your answer. D) For this part of the activity you need to be in a location where the room air is fairly still. Check for air vents near you, and don t move around too much yourself. Sprinkle about 150 ml (2/3 of a cup) of baking soda around the bottom of the tub, and then pour in ml of vinegar. (These amounts will vary according to the size of the container.) You may want to very gently agitate the tub to help the vinegar react thoroughly with the baking soda, but do not lift the container off the table. E) After the reaction stops, blow some more bubbles into the tub. (You should blow the bubbles a foot or two above the tub and just let some of them fall in. You should not blow directly into the tub.) 2) How does the density of the gas produced in the vinegar/baking soda reaction compare to the density of the bubbles? I-39 CALVIN COLLEGE

14 1-4 CONVECTION 3) How does the density of the gas produced in the vinegar/baking soda reaction compare to the density of the air? 4) Why don't you need a lid on this tub in order to keep the gas produced from escaping? F) Add a little more vinegar (and baking soda if needed) to the tub in order to cause a little more reaction to occur. G) After the reaction stops, try holding a lighted match inside the tub as you did previously. 5) Explain how you know the gas produced in this chemical reaction is not oxygen. (Note: the gas produced is carbon dioxide.) ACTIVITY #3 WILL GASES FLOW? Since you know that the gas produced in the vinegar/baking soda reaction is denser than air and that it will cause a match to go out, you can do a simple experiment to test whether or not a gas can "flow" A) Support your candle in modeling clay and light it. B) Combine about 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 150 ml of vinegar in a beaker. C) When the reaction is finished, hold one end of the sheet metal ramp right next to the candle flame, and hold the other end of the ramp several inches higher. Hold the lip of the beaker next to the sheet metal ramp and pour the gas in your beaker down the ramp. Be careful not to pour any liquid down the ramp. UNIT 1 SCIENTIFIC MODELS I-40 CALVIN COLLEGE

15 1) Describe what must have happened to cause the candle flame to go out. Can you infer from this that gases can flow? ACTIVITY #4 CONVECTION CURRENTS IN AIR You have seen that gases can flow as can liquids, and that gases have the property of density. Thus, it should follow that convection currents can form in gases just as they can form in liquids. This inference can be tested by heating-up some air with a lighted candle. Consider a lighted candle heating up a portion of the air: 1) What do you predict will happen to the air being heated? 2) Where will the air come from to replace the heated air? 3) Draw arrows on the diagram above to indicate the air currents you expect to occur. 4) Test your prediction by lighting a candle and feeling with your finger where the hot and cool air around the flame occurs. Be careful not to burn your finger by putting it too close! I-41 CALVIN COLLEGE

16 1-4 CONVECTION As time permits, a convection chamber can be built from a cardboard box. A convection box will allow you to see air currents caused by the convection process by watching the movement of smoke in the air (similar to the way convection currents in water were viewed by watching the flow of food color. However, they often don t work well and can be dangerous, so we ll use helium balloons as described. Add mass to a helium balloon until it is neutrally buoyant (i.e., it will float at a constant altitude in the air: neither going up nor down). This is most easily accomplished by making fine adjustments to the mass of the balloon system by first tying a string to the balloon so that it is slightly more dense than the air, and then slowly cutting off pieces of the string until neutral buoyancy is attained. Once the balloon is neutrally buoyant, position it over a hot plate that has had time to warm up. When released, the balloon will be observed to move upwards. [Caution: Blowers from heating or air conditioning vents can interfere with convection currents in a classroom.] If the sun is shining you might want to go outside and see if you can find any convection currents. Check sunny sidewalks and cool shady places. Be sure you don t let your balloon escape though! UNIT 1 SCIENTIFIC MODELS I-42 CALVIN COLLEGE

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