My name is Alexander FufaeV and here I will explain the following topic:

# Stefan-Boltzmann Law: How Bodies Radiate Energy Through Their Temperature

## Formula

What do the formula symbols mean?

Unit
Radiant power [J/s] is the energy emitted by a black body per time.

## Surface area

Unit
Surface area of a black body (for example of the sun).

## Temperature

Unit
Surface temperature of the black body.

## Stefan-Boltzmann constant

The Stefan-Boltzmann constant has the value $$\sigma = 5.67 \cdot 10^{-8} \, \frac{\mathrm J}{\mathrm{m}^2 \, \mathrm{K}^4 \, \mathrm{s}}$$.
Explanation

## Video

This lesson is also available as a YouTube video: Stefan-Boltzmann law simply explained

Each body, which has a temperature (thus all), radiates energy.

• How much energy does our sun radiate and how much of it reaches us on earth?

• How much energy does the Earth radiate into space?

• What is the surface temperature of our sun?

Such and similar questions can be answered by the Stefan Boltzmann law. This law describes the relation between the temperature $$\class{red}{T}$$ of a body and its radiant power $$\class{green}{P}$$. Also the surface $$A$$ of the body influences the radiated power:

Formula anchor

Here $$\sigma$$ is the Stefan Boltzmann constant with the value $$\sigma = 5.67 \cdot 10^{-8} \, \frac{\mathrm J}{\mathrm{m}^2 \, \mathrm{K}^4 \, \mathrm{s}}$$. This is a constant that has an exact value that depends only on other physical constants:

Formula anchor

What is the radiant power $$\class{green}{P}$$? It indicates how much energy per second the surface of the body radiates. The unit of radiant power is W [watts] or J/s [joules per second].

Furthermore, the Stefan-Boltzmann law applies only to so-called black bodies or bodies that are almost a black body. However, the name black has nothing to do with the color of the body. For example, the sun is an approximately black body, although, as you know, it is not black. A black body absorbs all radiation that hits it. It does not reflect any radiation and does not let any radiation pass.

From the Stefan-Boltzmann law you can see how strongly the radiated energy depends on the temperature. Doubling the surface temperature of the sun would result in 16 times as much solar energy reaching the earth.