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The power output of a solar cell is proportional to the sine of the angle between the incident light and the face of the solar cell.

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Jack Webdale 01/05/2007 Page 1 Proving the lens formula Hypothesis The power output of a solar cell is proportional to the sine of the angle between the incident light and the face of the solar cell. Apparatus I will use the following equipment during me experiment. A Solar Cell - A device used to convert light (photons) into Electric (Voltaic) that can be used to power circuits. A Metre Rule - Will be used to measure the distance between the light source and the solar cell. Will maintain the distance as accurately as possible. It has millimetre units, although large and hard to take a precise measurement in mm. Two Digital MultiMeters - These will serve the purpose of an Ammeter and Voltmeter. Using the different settings they can be used to give 2.d.p readings. A Resistance Box - A device used to serve as a fixed resister, but can serve as many sizes. For this experiment I will set it to 5ohms. A Light source (Mains Voltage) - small Lamp, 40-watt bulb. Used to emit light to give energy to the solar cell A Protractor -Used to measure the angle being used for each reading when turning the Solar cell. Connecting Wires - used to complete the circuit and connect the components. Most of the apparatus I will use are self-explanatory. I am satisfied that the experiment will be conducted as accurately as possible, although I can see it will be difficult to keep the solar cell at the wanted angle to a degree. ...read more.


* Check the Multimeters are operational, and if needed change battery's, and change the settings for use with either voltmeter or ammeter (200m). * Set-up the equipment as shown in the diagram of apparatus, and use connecting wires to allow as much space as possible for turning the cell to different angles. * Turn on the lamp, and using the markers on A4 paper under the cell, line it up with the centre of the cell which is perpendicular to the source (90degrees) * Wait 10 minuets with the Multimeters and light source on, to allow the temperature to settle. * Check the light to cell distance, fix at 150mm. * With the cell at 90 degrees, take the readings from the voltmeter and ammeter, and multiply the current and voltage together to get the power output of the cell at that angle. * Repeat this but rotate the cell clockwise and line the cell up with the next marking on the paper until the 'blackout' angle is achieved (0 degrees). A total of 10 readings should be taken. * Repeat all of the above again, to take a secondary set of results. These will be used to take an average of readings and help precision and accuracy. Table of results - example My table will take this form: Angle (degrees) Voltage (mV) Current (mI) Sine of angle Power output (VxI) ...read more.


I am happy that these points are near enough to the line to presume that if the experiment were conducted with better apparatus to rotate the cell, and ensure nothing else changes during readings, all the points would lie on the proportionality line. It also shows that although I conducted my experiment as accurately as possible with the given apparatus, errors still occurred somewhere during the experiment. The 2 points at the beginning that do not fit the pattern are more interesting. Something occurred on both occasions that gave this result. I would suggest this was due to the light emerging from the window frames of the room. When rotating, the cell faced the window frames more and more, and although I tried to block out as much light as possible, some must have reflected onto the cell and thus causing the higher readings. Other than this, the only other possible cause is that as the cell neared the 'blackout' angle, more light was reflected on the shiny surface of the cell, and not absorbed giving a power output. If I were to repeat the experiment, I would choose research a better way of rotating the cell to get a perfect angle each time, as I found it difficult to judge to a degree with my own eyes. Perhaps also find a room with no other possible light sources, to ensure the cell is not affected. I am confident in saying there are little ways in which I could improve this experiment using the apparatus available. ...read more.

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