The Effect of Thermal Radiation on the Efficiency of a Dyson Sphere
Forbes Li, Thomas Nguyen
Floor Location : S 074 E
Seeing the world struggle to meet its vast demand for electricity, Freeman Dyson thought of an idea for a megastructure that would engulf and harness power directly from the Sun. Because the sphere is designed to be so close to the sun, one concern comes to mind: the intense thermal radiation emitted by the sun. In order to test the effect this thermal radiation has on the sphere, we built a model Dyson sphere with solar panels attached facing inwards and pumped in an amount of heat which we would then proportion with the sun’s thermal radiation. In order to have a more accurate look at the progression of the Sphere's efficiency, we tested the efficiency of the sphere in 5 different trials: Control Experiment (room temperature), 20-degrees Celsius addition (25 percent power of the sun), 40-degrees Celsius addition (50 percent power of the sun), 60-degrees Celsius addition (75 percent power of the sun), and 80-degrees Celsius addition (100 percent power of the sun). After testing, we found that at the 20-degree increase the efficiency decreased by 17.6%, in a 40-degree increase the efficiency decreased by 30.7%, and then continued to decrease by 45.2% and 55.2% respectively. Overall, the experiment was a success and we had correctly and accurately measured the efficiency of solar panels under varying intensities of heat.