Crookes radiometer – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

When a radiant energy source is directed at a Crookes radiometer, the radiometer becomes a heat engine.[citation needed] The operation of a heat engine is based on a difference in temperature that is converted to a mechanical output. In this case, the black side of the vane becomes hotter than the other side, as radiant energy from a light source warms the black side by black-body absorption faster than the silver or white side. The internal air molecules are heated up when they touch the black side of the vane.

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