Data logger, oscilloscope, signal generator and more!

DrDAQ is a versatile instrument that connects to the USB port of any PC. Using the supplied PicoScope software it can be used as an oscilloscope, spectrum analyzer and signal generator.

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Do red cars get hotter than those painted in other colors?


Figure 3 below shows the results that were obtained for this experiment.

Car temperature results

Figure 3: Car temperature results

From the graph above it can be seen that out of the purple, green and red Ford Falcon XR6 cars, the purple car was hottest, the green car was the second hottest and the red car was infact the coolest.

  • The purple car reached air temperatures of 51 °C, and seat temperatures of 45.8 °C
  • The green car reached air temperatures of 49.5 °C, and seat temperatures of 43.5 °C
  • The red car reached air temperatures of 48.5 °C, and seat temperatures of 42 °C
  • The temperature outside the cars reached 26 °C


Although we think of red as a ‘hot’ colour this experiment proved that red coloured cars do not get hotter than either purple or green coloured cars. The reason for this is because darker colours absorb more heat.

This experiment also demonstrated how difficult it is to control all the variables when working outside. For example, at 12 pm an increase in wind caused the temperature of all cars to drop a few degrees.

Teachers’ notes

General notes:

Although this experiment does demonstrate the problems involved in trying to control variables in field-based experiments, for practical reason it may be better to perform this experiment in the lab using large model cars and light bulbs as the light source.

Target age groups:

Ages 7 to 13 (Science Key Stages levels 2 and 3)

National curriculum:

Whilst not being directly linked with the KS2 Programme of Study such an activity does provide opportunities to measure temperatures, relating loosely to Sc3 2b/c. Likewise at KS3 such an activity could link with Sc4 5f looking particularly at an example of energy transfer by radiation.


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