Variable wind speed and evaporation rates: a practical and modelling exercise for high school physics and multi-strand science classes

Schouten, Peter and Lemckert, Charles and Parisi, Alfio and Downs, Nathan and Underhill, Ian and Turner, Geoff (2011) Variable wind speed and evaporation rates: a practical and modelling exercise for high school physics and multi-strand science classes. Teaching Science: The Journal of the Australian Science Teachers Association, 57 (2). pp. 47-51. ISSN 1449-6313

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With the recent onset of drought conditions throughout many regions of Australia and across the world, a greater amount of interest has been placed on the measurement and modelling of evaporation rates in real-world environments such as agricultural dams and drinking water reserves. Coinciding with this, substantial amounts of research work have been carried out detailing increasingly accurate methods to both measure and predict evaporative losses from water reserves along with the development of innovative techniques and technologies to suppress and mitigate water evaporation. Some examples of these techniques include fixed covers, floating covers, wind breaks along with chemical films and monolayers. The following practical exercise aims to give senior high school Physics and multi-strand science students an insight into how evaporation measurements can be made and compared with modelled data to verify their accuracy by employing local wind velocity, temperature (air and water) and water vapour (humidity) information. In addition to this, this exercise shows how publicly available chemical films based on substances such as silicon, cetyl alcohol and stearyl alcohol can be utilised to reduce evaporation. An analysis of film performance under varying wind velocities will be detailed for replication by students in the laboratory.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Deposited with blanket permission of the publisher.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Biological and Physical Sciences
Date Deposited: 01 Aug 2011 04:40
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2013 00:44
Uncontrolled Keywords: solar radiation; evaporation; practical; monolayers; wind speed
Fields of Research : 02 Physical Sciences > 0299 Other Physical Sciences > 029999 Physical Sciences not elsewhere classified
13 Education > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130212 Science, Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy
13 Education > 1301 Education Systems > 130106 Secondary Education
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 93 Education and Training > 9301 Learner and Learning > 930102 Learner and Learning Processes

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