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Liquid Crystal Thermometers

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    The Exploratorium

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Liquid Crystal Thermometers

In this activity, learners explore liquid crystal thermometers to observe how heat flows by conduction, convection, radiation, and evaporation. This resource includes five mini-explorations in which learners use basic materials and observe color changes on a liquid crystal thermometer card.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per student

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 18

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • Liquid crystal thermometer
  • stopwatch
  • ruler
  • flat pieces of metal, about an inch wide and at least four inches long
  • adhesive to attach liquid crystal material to the metal pieces
  • lightbulb
  • hot and cold water in open top containers
  • a thermometer


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Technology
      • Information and Communication
  • Mathematics
    • Measurement
      • Rate
  • Physical Sciences
    • Heat and Thermodynamics
      • Heat and Temperature
    • Light and Optics
      • Sunlight and Color
      • Vibration and Waves
    • States of Matter
      • Liquids
      • Gases
      • Changes of Phase
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Atomic Structure
      • Elementary Particles and Nuclear Physics
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Light and Optics
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Doherty, Paul


  • All Rights Reserved, Paul Doherty, ©1999


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