Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The emissivity of a material (usually written e) is the ratio of energy radiated to energy radiated by a black body at the same temperature. It is a measure of a material's ability to absorb and radiate energy. A true black body would have an e = 1 while any real object would have e < 1.
This emissivity depends on factors such as temperature, emission angle, and wavelength. However, a typical engineering assumption is to assume that a surface's spectral emissivity and absorptivity do not depend on wavelength, so that the emissivity is a constant. This is known as the grey body assumption. When dealing with non-black surfaces, the deviations from ideal black body behavior are determined by both the geometrical structure and the chemical composition, and follow Kirchhoff's Law: emissivity equals absorptivity, so that an object that does not absorb all incident light will also emit less radiation than an ideal black body.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details