Why does Black Absorb more Heat?

How Light is Related to Color? Is Black a Color? How does Heat Absorption Occur? Why it is Advised to wear Light-Colored Clothes in Summer?
Why does black absorb more heat?

Everyone would have experienced the sun’s intensity in May, especially on the day when you chose to wear your favorite black Kurti. During summer, you would also notice most people wearing whites. Have you wondered why? Before answering the above question as to why does black absorb more heat, it is important to understand the science behind this. Some say black and white are not colors. So you can ask, why does black absorb more heat? If so, then why does black absorb heat more than other colors? Does black attract the sun? You will know the answer to all the questions as you continue reading the article.

The colors are pigments and hues you see in crayon boxes. Scientifically, color is a range of light that is visible to human eyes. Humans can only see light rays on wavelengths ranging between 380 and 750 nm. Light when comes into contact with an object has the ability to reflect, be absorbed, diffract, etc. An object’s color is based on the amount of light it absorbs and reflects.

  • For example, you can see the color of the sky is blue because it absorbs all the wavelengths and reflects blue alone.
  • If you see someone’s shirt as purple, it doesn’t mean the shirt is reflecting the purple rays alone. A purple shirt will reflect wavelengths of light between the range 380 nm and 450 nm which your eyes process as purple only.

An object can absorb all light and scatter, and reflect all wavelengths of light. But depending on the object, the emission of the various wavelengths of light varies. (See What are Coloured Glass Blocks?)

2. Is Black a Color?

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You are all familiar with VIBGYOR. But some colors, for example, black and white do not seem to be included in the light spectrum. Does this mean black and white are not colors?

  • The inclusion of black and white as colors depends on how you want to define color. If you define colors in terms of science, the spectrum of light that is visible to human eyes, then black, white, and pink are not colors.
  • The above-mentioned ones are a result of the eyes’ interpretation of mixing various wavelengths of light.
  • You see an object to be white if it reflects all the wavelengths of light in the same quantity. Pink, in case of mixing red and violet wavelengths, and black if the object reflects very few wavelengths of light. That’s why if you enter a room with no lights, everything is black and dark. (See What does Orange and Green make?)

3. How does Black absorb Heat more than Other Colors?

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Heat is a form of energy that always flows from an object having a higher temperature to an object having a lower temperature.

  • For example, if a hot coffee cup of 100 degrees Celsius is placed on a table, slowly the heat waves from the cup will transfer to the surrounding environment. Energy transforms into a waveform while traveling and the distance between one wave to another wave is called wavelength.
  • The wavelength of heat radiation or energy is 0.1 nm to 100 nm which is longer than the wavelength of visible light. So when a color absorbs light energy it absorbs a certain amount of wavelengths, reflects some light wavelengths, and converts it to heat energy. Must read why is blackboard green?
  • The more amount of light an object absorbs, the more heat it produces. Each color can absorb, reflect and convert light to heat energy.
  • Depending on the amount of energy absorbed and reflected by them, the emission of heat energy varies. So by the above theory, black absorbs all the spectrum of light and reflects none. This is the reason why does black absorb more heat than any other color. (See What Does It Mean When Your Blood Is Dark Red?)

4. Does Black Attract the Sun?

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Sun is the primary source of light for us. The light from the sun travels in waveform and reaches the earth’s atmosphere in 8 minutes and 20 seconds. Sunlight travels with the speed of light. As said before, colors are the light waves that are visible to human eyes. Black can be called the absence of color as it absorbs all the wavelengths of the light spectrum and reflects almost none.

Does black attract the sun? It comes back to your original question, why does black absorb more heat? Yes, black attracts most sunlight followed by the seven colors VIBGYOR in descending order. The more the light is absorbed by an object, the more heat it produces i.e more light means more heat. The amount of heat emitted is directly proportional to the amount of light absorbed by an object. (See What is the colour of each planet?)

5. Why Light-Colored Clothes are Comfortable for Summer?

Lighter colors absorb heat and reflect everything quickly while darker shades of colors, absorb light fastly and reflect a very less amount of light. Since most of the light absorbed is not reflected, those light energy gets converted into heat energies. That’s why during summer, you are advised to wear light-colored clothes and in winter to use dark color clothes that retain heat and keep you warm. So try to wear clothes based on the type of weather that particular day has so that you feel free and comfortable. (See Why some people prefer winter over summer?)

So, now you know why does black absorb more heat and attracts the sun, and why it is advised to wear light-colored clothes in summer. Try to understand the importance and science of the color spectrum and share the article with your friends. (Also read Uses of Police Red and Blue Lights)

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