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July 27, 2005

地球環境が目でみてわかる科学実験

chikyukankyo
 【今週の一冊】
 ●『地球環境が目でみてわかる科学実験』

  著:川村康文(築地書館)
   2004.7 / ¥1,470

-----------------------------------
 ◆ 燃える一言 ◆
 『地球環境問題、エネルギー問題を知って、これらの問題解決に
                     私たちの叡智を傾けましょう。
    叡智を傾けるためには、ただ単に知っているだけではいけません。
              それらを科学的に理解することが大切です。』
-----------------------------------
 昨晩から台風7号が上陸し、大雨をもたらしています。
 
 思い出されるのは、昨年の「週間」台風の猛威です。
 
 まさに「異常気象を実感」したように思いましたが、あくまで感覚的なもの
 で、どこまで因果関係が分かっているかは、甚だ不明確です。
 
 私たちは、地球環境の変化について、どこまで理解しているでしょうか。
 
 実際に自ら実験して、環境問題とその対策について、楽しく学べる本を紹介
 します。
 
 
 当たり前のように「二酸化炭素の排出で地球が温暖化する」と言いますが、
 さて、そのメカニズムは?
 
 太陽からのエネルギーは、電磁波として地球に降り注ぎ、その大部分は可視
 光線で、二酸化炭素は素通りします。
 
 電磁波のエネルギーは地表に到達すると減少し、その分波長が長くなった赤
 外線として宇宙空間に放出されます。
 
 ところが二酸化炭素をはじめとする「温室効果ガス」は、赤外線を吸収し、
 その名のごとく温室のように大気を保温するのです。
 
 つまり、温室効果ガスの増加により、気温が上昇するのです。
 
 
 本書では、二酸化炭素の温室効果を、ペットボトルに封入した空気との比較
 で調べる実験の方法が示されています。
 
 できるだけ正確に測定するためには、手作りであっても試料が熱源からの影
 響を均等に受けるような工夫が必要であり、複数の道具立てが解説されてい
 ます。
 
 
 一方、ディーゼル車の排気ガスに含まれる浮遊粒子状物質(PM)が健康被害
 の原因として注目されていますが、PMのような微粒子(エアロゾル)は、
 物質によって冷却効果を示すものと、温暖化効果を持つものがあります。
 
 海水が蒸発して生じる塩化物結晶のエアロゾルは、白色系ですので光を反射
 し、冷却効果がありますが、ディーゼル車や工場排気のススは、当然黒色系
 の温暖化効果を示す物質です。
 
 これも、二酸化炭素と同様の実験装置で、白いチョークの粉を入れた場合と、
 炭素粉を入れた場合で実際に実験してみると、納得できるでしょう。
 
 
 こうして、環境が実に簡単に変化しやすいものだということを知った上で、
 対策として挙げられる「風力発電」「太陽光発電」「燃料電池」などを、教
 材を買ってくるのではなく、実地に作ってみることを、次のステップとして
 示しています。
 
 効率のよい風力発電として「サボニウス型風車」(これ、私は初めて知りま
 した!)が挙げられ、また燃料電池をお茶やコーヒーで作る方法が示される
 など、なかなか捻りが効いています。
 
 夏休みの自由研究で、子供と一緒に、ものづくりとエコを学ぶ良いテキスト
 になるでしょう。
 ----------------------------------
 ◇ カンドコロ! ◇
 
 身近にある太陽電池は、大半が半導体のアモルファスシリコンで、とても手
 作りできるものではない。
 
 また、実は製造過程で大量のエネルギーを要し、有毒な元素を含むため廃棄
 の問題もある。
 
 そこで注目されるのが、「光合成型太陽電池」と呼ばれる色素増感太陽電池。
 
 主原料は、化粧品にも使われる「二酸化チタン」、紫キャベツなどの天然色
 素、うがい薬にも入っている「ヨウ素溶液」など、安価で安全なものだ。
 
 そして、小学生でも科学実験で作れる手軽さ!
 
 効率や安定性などの課題はあるが、注目される技術であり、実際に自分で太
 陽電池を「作った」経験は、科学への関心を高めるはずだ。

───────────────────────────────────
 ◆ 熱い行動 ◆
 原理原則が分からねば、「地球を大切に」の掛け声だけで地球は救えない。
 何が起こっていて、何ができるかを実地に知ろう。
 
 子供と一緒に、夏休みの宿題をやろう!
-----------------------------------
 ◆ 燃えるゲージ ◆ | 炎 | 炎 | 火 | (炎3つが満点)
-----------------------------------
 ◎ 目 次 ◎
 Part1 環境問題ってどんなこと?
  1 地球温暖化
  2 酸性雨
  3 大気汚染
  4 エアロゾルによる地球温暖化・冷却化
  5 オゾン層の破壊と紫外線
 Part2 環境にやさしいエネルギー
  6 電気エネルギーといろいろな発電
  7 太陽電池
  8 風力発電
  9 燃料電池
  10 省エネルギー
 Part3 これからの地球を考える
  11 環境家計簿
  12 京都議定書

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