Black body radiation



Before watching this video, please ensure that you have understood the concepts covered in Topic 5 (Waves in matter), particularly those in the Electromagnetic waves 1 and Electromagnetic waves 2 videos.

The term black body radiation will be new to almost all students at GCSE, but that doesn’t mean that this is a topic to be afraid of.  As we’ll see, black body radiation helps explain how thermal (infrared) imaging cameras work, why a hot poker glows red hot, why the fine balance between the absorption and emission of radiation are so crucial to the future of the planet.

Please note that this video includes some higher tier-only content.

Key Words

infrared, electromagnetic spectrum, emission, black body, temperature, atmosphere, greenhouse effect, global warming, thermal energy, heat energy, wavelength, absorption