Infrared cameras in inquiry-based thermodynamics laboratory exercises in university physics
2015 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Infrared (IR) cameras hold the potential to make otherwise invisible thermal phenomena visible. In this way, they may be used to give students disciplinary affordance to central concepts in thermodynamics, such as the mechanisms of heat transfer and thermal properties of different materials. In the present, design-based study, open-ended laboratory exercises are developed for university thermodynamics courses, implemented and evaluated in an iterative fashion. Physics and engineering students investigate the function of a laboratory set-up, for instance a heat pump, with the help of handheld IR cameras. Data is collected by means of observation, video and audio recording, and analysed from the perspective of students’ expression of conceptions in the thermal domain and how the technology provides disciplinary affordance to the topic. Findings include that the technology invites the students to ask questions in relation to the laboratory equipment, which typically drives their inquiry in relevant directions. In addition, in contrast to previously investigated secondary students, these university students are found to explore the functionality of the IR cameras beyond the intuitive interpretation of them as visual thermometers. For instance, the provided software is used to produce striking image work for their reports, and they investigate the influence of the emissive and reflective properties of different surfaces. Directing the IR camera to a mirror provides disciplinary affordance to the phenomenon of reflection of infrared radiation, rather than a reliable temperature reading of its surface.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Research subject Physics with specialization in Physics Education
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-262726OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-262726DiVA: diva2:855042
11th Conference of the European Science Education Research Association (ESERA), Helsinki, Finland, 31 Aug-4 Sep