Science with Shields: Episode #43 – Crayon Melt


ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — In this episode of Science with Shields, Christy Shields shows you why it is important to wear light colored clothing in the heat.

What you need: 

  1. Crayons
  2. Tape
  3. Cardboard
  4. Temperature Gun (Optional)


First, cut a side off of a cardboard box. Next, tape crayons on the cardboard from dark to light and sit it outside in the direct sunlight. It is best to try this experiment on a hot day with temperatures above 90°F. Check back every few hours to see if the crayons melt. After the first hour, notice how the crayons start to glisten. Between hours 2 and 3, my crayons began to melt. If you have a temperature gun, check the temperature of the crayons as you go. When I started, the temperature was 90°F. By the time the crayons melted, the dark crayons reached a temperature of 140°F in the direct sun, while the light colored crayons only reached 120°F in the direct sun. A 20° difference!


Typical crayons have a melting point between 120°F – 147°F. So if your crayons melt, it will have reached in this temperature range! Our dark crayons reached a temperature of 140°F while the light crayons reached about 120°F. This was on a 90°F day. This is because darker colors absorb heat while light colors reflect the suns rays and the heat. This is why on a hot summer day, it is said it is best to wear loose light colored clothing compared to darker colors so you can stay cooler.

Check out more Science with Shields episodes on WTAJ Plus.

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