Draper point

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The Draper point is the approximate temperature above which almost all solid materials visibly glow as a result of blackbody radiation. It was established at 798 K (525˚ C, 977˚ F) by John William Draper in 1847.[1][2][3]

Bodies at temperatures just below the Draper point radiate primarily in the infrared band and at longer wavelengths, and emit negligible visible light. The value of the Draper point can be calculated using Wien's displacement law: the peak frequency \nu_{peak} (in hertz) emitted by a blackbody relates to temperature as follows:[4]

\nu_{peak} = { 2.821 \over h} kT


k is Boltzmann's constant.
h is Planck's constant.
T is temperature (in kelvins).

Substituting the Draper point into this equation produces a frequency of 46.9 terahertz—which is infrared, and largely invisible except for a dull red, at a small fraction of the peak intensity, that is visible to the human eye.[5]


  1. ^ "Science: Draper's Memoirs". The Academy (London: Robert Scott Walker) XIV (338): 408. Oct 26, 1878. 
  2. ^ J. R. Mahan (2002). Radiation heat transfer: a statistical approach (3rd ed.). Wiley-IEEE. p. 58. ISBN 978-0-471-21270-6. 
  3. ^ John William Draper (1847). "Production of Light by Heat". The London, Edinburgh and Dublin philosophical magazine and journal of science (Taylor & Francis): 345–359. 
  4. ^ Wannier, Gregory H (1987) [1966]. "Chapter 10-2". Statistical Physics. New York: Dover Publications. ISBN 978-0-486-65401-0. OCLC 15520414. 
  5. ^ Cecie Starr (2005). Biology: Concepts and Applications. Thomson Brooks/Cole. ISBN 0-534-46226-X.