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Color wheel experiment to show light consists of many colors

Aim of the Project


To prove that white color is a mixture of colors.

Things needed for the project:


1. A pencil 2. A ruler 3. A small bowl or large cup (3-4 inch,7-10cm diameter rim) 4. A paper cup 5. Scissors 6. White cardboard or heavy white paper 7. Crayons or markers

Color wheel
A color wheel is a visual organization of colors around a circle based on their order in visual spectrum. It shows relationships between primary, secondary and complimentary colors. The color wheel was invented by Sir Isaac Newton in the year 1706. A basic color wheel consists of six colors with RGB or RGV as the primary colors and Magenta, Cyan and Yellow as secondary colors. In a color wheel the colors can be either distinct or represented by hues of the primary and secondary colors as shown.

Among all colours, the darkest of all colours is black and the brightest is white. But in fact white is the most colourful one because white is a mixture of all colours whereas black does not contain any colour. The experiment can prove this fact.

What to do:
1. Draw a circle of 10 cm diameter on the cardboard. 2. Cut out the circle by using the scissors. 3. Now divide the circle into six approximately equal sections using the ruler. (Note: only 6 spaces are required because we can avoid the color Indigo in the light spectrum) 4. Now each section is coloured with the colours of a spectrum. The colouring should be evenly distributed and smooth as possible. 5. Make a hole at the centre of the circle and insert the pencil through this hole. The pencil should be tight in this hole. 6. Place the cup in upside down position on the table and make a hole at the bottom of the cup. The diameter of this hole should be little larger than the diameter of the pencil. Insert the pencil through this hole so that the tip of the pencil rests on the table. 7. The position of the colour wheel is adjusted such that the colour wheel should be about inch (1-2 cm) above the cup. 8. Spin the pencil quickly and observe the colour wheel. Adjust as necessary so that the pencil and wheel spin easily. Now you observe the rotating colour wheel. You will see white colour instead of different colours of the wheel.

What happens:
The colors on the wheel are the main colors in white light. When the wheel spins fast enough, the colors all appear to blend together, and the wheel looks white.

Why this happens:


This happens due to persistance of vision. When we rotate the wheel we see more than 1 color within 1/16 of a second. When we rotate it faster we see all the 6 colors in this time. As a result all these colors overlap and what we see in effect is this mixture of colors.