Sustainicum Collection

Consus The aim of the project is to establish a regional science-society network for sustainability innovations in Albania and Kosovo in order to strengthen the connection and collaboration of institutions in the field of higher education, research and practice.

Resource facts

  • Independent of the number of students
  • 15 to 30 min
    Up to 3 lecture units
  • Internet connection necessary
  • English, German

Resource Description

Instruction file

Additional attachments

Quantifying Solar Energy(Resource ID: 201)

This building block includes directions for conducting an experiment to demonstrate the power of the sun. A description of the basic conditions, which must be met in order to conduct the experiment, is also included.

Authors: Ing. Wolfgang Laube, Prof. Dr. Philipp Weihs

Basic Idea of the Building Block

The following experiment illustrates direct solar radiation focused on one point using a Fresnel lens. A test tube is filled with water and positioned at the focal point. Inside the test tube is a black (absorbing) area (on the side of the tube positioned away from the sun) that converts the sun’s energy into heat. The majority of this heat is transferred into the water. The water is brought to a boil. Using the test tube’s built-in thermal element it is possible to observe changes in the water as it heats up.

This experiment should help students understand the energetic significance of the sun.

Description of the building block  

This experiment must be carried out when the sun is shining in order for it to be successful.

A test tube with a specially made fixture is filled with water. A (focusing) Fresnel lens is aligned with the sun. It should be focused exactly on the lower part of the test tube.

The water is brought to a boil. Using the pre-measured amount of water (by weight) and the water temperature, the energy expended to boil the water can be calculated.

The building block is divided into four steps:

Step 1: Directions for the experiment/ technical description

Step 2: Experiment preparations

Step 3: Experiment execution

Step 4: Calculating the expended amount of energy

Course material include

  • A short introduction to the building block
  • A video (http://youtu.be/4wiYOK7b1GI)
  • A short theoretical explanation
  • Bibliography and further links
Learning Outcomes
This building block is appropriate for all courses that are hands-on, exercise-oriented and focus on solar energy. After having completed this experiment, students should recognize the energetic significance of the sun.
Relevance for Sustainability
This building block helps students to realize the potential of the sun as a renewable source of energy. The sun is one of the most environmentally friendly natural sources of energy on Earth.
Related Teaching Resources
No specific previous knowledge / related resources required
Preparation Efforts
Sources and Links
Funded by
Funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research within the framework of the call "Projekt MINT-Massenfächer" (2011/12)

Comments Write Comment


Philipp Weihs


Philipp Weihs
This teaching resource is allocated to following University:
BOKU - University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna
Institute of Meteorology (BOKU Vienna)


Creative Commons

Teaching Tools & Methods

  • Mini-project
  • Video
  • formteaching_experiment