Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Our Team's Solution, by Evan

Our Team Solution: A roof structure that has a tempered glass dome which encases black coated copper piping. Using greenhouse technology, infrared radiation is trapped inside the glass dome and heats up the piping. This heats up the water inside the pipe which then flows into the heat exchanger where it gives up its heat for a different use inside the building. Then the whole process is repeated.

See the Plasma Photons' Convection Invention on this link:

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Domes Over Cities, by Zoë

Domes Over Cities, by Zoë

When the team heard about Urban Heat Island, we wondered if there are some solutions.

One of the ideas we found is a dome. Bucky Fuller is the person that thought about the Manhattan dome idea. The Manhattan Dome Proposal was an idea to cover part of New York City in a dome.

A glass dome sounds like it will shatter in a tornado but it’s very strong. Take an egg for example, eggs are fragile and can be broken when dropped but it can hold up to 40 pounds! That is a lot of weight one small egg could hold! It is strong because the egg is a dome so a glass dome probably would not fall in pieces during a tornado.
The reason a dome is a very strong is because of its shape. A s you build a dome higher and bigger, the stronger it will be. The dome is strong because of the way it distributes the weight. The dome has a shape that sends the weight through the entire structure. That is why it is the strongest shape in architecture.

Domes can be made out of more than glass. In the Eden Project, they used hexagonal panels that were covered with many layers of inflatable, light plastic foil. The two domes in the project cover about 5 acres of land.

Calvin and Hobbes had a funny conversation about the future. This is the comic strip:
Hobbes is saying that people have technology that they don't completely know what to do with.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Urban Heat Island Effect, by Brandon

Urban heat island effect occurs when cities get warmer than suburban areas. Urban heat island is happening because in the city, almost everything is black. The roofs are black and the streets are black. The black is absorbing heat, and the windows on buildings are reflecting heat from their windows.

The term, "albedo" refers to the reflectivity of color. If something has a high albedo, it means it has high reflectivity. For example, if it was a hot day you would want to wear a white shirt instead of a black one because black attracts heat and white reflects.

Three types of urban heat island effect are canopy layer, boundary layer, and surface layer. The first layer, the canopy layer, is the layer of air that is closest to the surface. It extends from the surface to the average height of a building. Above the canopy layer lies the boundary layer, which ranges from 1 km by day, and may shrink to hundreds meters or less by night. Finally, above the canopy and boundary layers lie the surface layer. This layer is measured by remote sensors mounted on satellites or aircraft.

Some buildings in Baltimore are choosing to paint their rooftops white to reflect the sun's heat and decrease the temperature of the rooftop/building. See:
This is a link to a company in Baltimore that uses paint instead of a vinyl.

Many businesses in California are using a product called "Durolast," that is a white vinyl and is applied to roof tops to cool buildings. This product does a great job of cooling a roof, but when disposed of, it can become harmful to the environment. It is also dangerous to manufacture.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

How Does Urban Heat Effect Our Health? by Corey

As our city heats up, people get hotter too!
Heat Stroke by Takchek.
Our team asked a registered nurse questions about how heat effects the body. Here are the questions and answers we asked:

1.) Do people get heart attacks because of heat related problem?
A: They can, but it's not the first sign

2.) Who is most susceptible from heat?
A: Children and the elderly

3.) What organs are most affected to the heat?
A: The brain

4.) Are the eyes affected by heat?
A: Your eyes may get dry

Click here for more information about heat stroke from the Center for Disease Control.

Research into Existing Solutions, by Evan

Research about Some Ways to Reflect the Heat off of a Roof:

Mirrored Shingles, Liquid Crystal Windows, and Electrochromic Windows
by Evan

Our team thought about different things that could reflect the solar heat off of a roof instead of it absorbing into the dark roof. One way was using mirrored shingles. A mirror is a perfect reflector and would make all of the sun’s heat reflect back into the air. One big problem with this is that the reflected light would bother pilots.
We also thought about using liquid crystal windows on the roof of a building to reflect the heat. We researched it and found out that it really does not do it. Then we found out about Electrochromic windows and thought about using them on the roof. They would reflect the heat, but they are too expensive. Here is information we found about both of these types of windows.

Liquid Crystal Windows
The first commercially available "smart window," liquid crystal windows are used for privacy control. They do not provide energy savings.
In this window's normal "off" condition, the glazing is a translucent milky white. When an electric current is applied, however, it turns slightly hazy clear. The switch between the two states is nearly instantaneous.
The technology works this way: two layers of film enclose a layer of tiny liquid crystals. This assembly is laminated between two pieces of heat-treated glass. Both faces of the film are covered with a transparent, electrically conductive metal coating. These conductive coatings are wired to a power supply.
When the power is off, the liquid crystals are randomly scattered. Light entering the glazing does not have a clear path out, and the window is a translucent milky white. When an electric current is applied between the two conductive coatings, the liquid crystals align neatly and you can see through the window.
Other than the diffusion of light, the optical properties of the two states are nearly identical -- the window lets in nearly the same amount of light and solar heat whether it's on or off. Because there is little change in performance properties and because it requires constant energy to maintain its clear state, this liquid crystal window provides no energy saving benefits.

Electrochromic Windows
Flip a switch and an electrochromic window can change from clear to fully darkened or any level of tint in-between.
The technology has been suggested for cars, where with a touch of a switch the driver can tint the mirror or sunroof. In buildings, the changeable windows allow for privacy, to cut down glare, and to ward off increases in solar heat.
The action of an electric field signals the change in the window's optical and thermal properties. Once the field is reversed, the process is also reversed. The windows operate on a very low voltage -- one to three volts -- and only use energy to change their condition, not to maintain any particular state.
To make an electrochromic window, a thin, multi-layer assembly is sandwiched between traditional pieces of glass. The two outside layers of the assembly are transparent electronic conductors. Next is a counter-electrode layer and an electrochromic layer, with an ion conductor layer in-between. When a low voltage is applied across the conductors, moving ions from the counter-electrode to the electrochromic layer cause the assembly to change color. Reversing the voltage moves ions from the electrochromic layer back to the counter-electrode layer, restoring the device to its previous clear state. The glass may be programmed to absorb only part of the light spectrum, such as solar infrared.
Early research indicates that the technology can save substantial amounts of energy in buildings, and electrochromic glazings may eventually replace traditional solar control technology such as tints, reflective films and shading devices.
The website is:

How Does Heat Transfer Work? by Zoë

Heat Transfer

These are the three types of heat transfer:

1.) Conduction is when an item or body touches another item or body and absorbs the heat from it.

2.) Convection is when hot fluid rises and then drops down as cool fluid. It forms a circle as it rises and drops.

3.) Radiation is when an item radiates heat to warm the air and other items around it. All of these can happen in the kitchen at the same time.

The pan conducts the heat from the stove and heats the water inside which makes it convect, and when you take it off the stove the heat radiates off the stove and that is how heat transfer works in the kitchen.

Heat transfer works on the Earth too. The sun's heat strikes Earth and heats up the land or water. As it travels it loses the heat and drops back down as cool water. The cool water travels on the bottom of the ocean, and gets heated up again near the Equator. It can warm places like Paris, because hot air from Mexico travels above the water and reaches France and England then the air warms those places and that is how it works on Earth.

Our team watched these two videos. They are actually separate parts of one video, made in 1956. They are really good videos and I think you will like them a lot.

Thank you Mrs. Tait for teaching us about heat transfer!

Monday, January 5, 2009

What About the Climate? by Madilyn

Climate - by Madilyn

Climate is the average weather that you can expect outside your window over a long period of time. The sun powers Earth’s climate. The sun sends heat to the earth and the oceans, and then the warm water and air move around the earth, bringing rain and warmth to other places.

The most important factors affecting climate are: distance from the sea, ocean currents, direction of prevailing winds, relief, proximity to the Equator, the El Niño phenomenon, and human activity.

Coastal areas are cooler and wetter than inland areas.

Ocean currents can either increase or decrease temperatures by moving cooler or warmer water together with air.

Mountains get more rainfall because they are cooler.

El Niño is the irregular warming of water in the Pacific Ocean that happens every 2 to 7 years. It can affect the weather in many parts of the world.

People can affect the climate because factory smoke, burning trees and using gasoline send CO2 into the air. Trees hold carbon inside them, just like a carbon sink, until they’re chopped down and used for paper and wood. Sometimes, instead of being built into something, the wood is used for a fireplace (or factory) and is burned up. Fossil fuels are used for factories and also release CO2 in the atmosphere.

Climate Classification
Aristotle was one of the first people that made a climate classification system. He had three different climate zones: Torrid, Temperate, and Frigid. The Torrid Zone was near the Equator, and the Frigid Zone was close to the poles. The Temperate Zone, though, was in between. Aristotle thought that people could only live in the Temperate Zone.

About 100 years ago, a German climatologist named Wladimir Köppen made a different (and better) climate classification system, which we still use today. Köppen considered more climate factors when he made his system. Aristotle was only thinking about latitude, or proximity to the Equator. Köppen’s system is more complex because he looks at more factors, such as precipitation and native vegetation. Native vegetation means the plants that naturally grow in an area. Köppen’s climate classification system is the basis of what many climatologists use today.

Maryland has two climates; humid subtropical in the eastern part of the state, and continental in the western part. In the continental area, it is warm in the summer and cold in the winter. In the subtropical area, it is hot in the summer and cool in the winter.

Temperatures in Baltimore can get hotter than 100°F during the summer, but can feel as hot as 115°F because of something called heat index.
Also, in Baltimore, people are planting trees and building green roofs because plants keep the city cooler. But green roofs cost money to install, and there is still more concrete and asphalt than trees.