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Air stratification

Results and answers

At first the three lines will be very close together. Give the sensors a few minutes to register their new temperatures. Now look at the graph. Are the three lines showing different temperatures? If so, why do you think? And if not, why do you think?


“Air stratification” is the result of hot air rising and cold air sinking. If you see a large difference, then you can see where all of your heat has gone! It is up near the ceiling, because warm air is less dense and more buoyant than cold air, making it rise. Cold air is denser and less buoyant, so it settles down near the floor. What if you do not see a difference? It could be that your ceiling is relatively low, so there is not enough room for the air to stratify (split into warm and cold areas). It could also be because all of the air in the room is the same temperature. Since it is the difference in temperature that causes stratification to occur, air that is the same temperature does not stratify. Also, if there is noticeable air movement (like a draught or a fan) in the room, the air will be mixed together and there will be less stratification.

Credits, comments and further info

This experiment was donated to Pico Technology. Please contact us if you have any comments about this experiment or suggestions for improvements.