From the Bright Side

Now that the summer physics 142 course is complete and I am ready to fully jump into preparations for the fall semester, here is a relaxing project for the most recent class of DUML physheads. Enjoy!


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Project Idea – Electric Wind

Dr. Brown does a fantastic job of discussing [in depth] all sorts of relevant phenomena and “cool” physics related to our topic of study. I am always astounded at the breadth and depth of his “rabbit trail” discussions. He also encourages students to do some extra project of interest during the course. Here is one idea I found this morning which relates to electric winds.


More details about the experimental set up can be found here.
http://amasci.com/weird/unusual/airhard.html

Electrostatics Lab

Our first lab on electrostatics gets us to consider charging by friction, conduction, and induction, conductors and insulators, and work of moving a charged plate through an electric field. We learned that sparks from discharge occur when the air ionizes to create a conducting path like mini-lightning. Here is a picture of a lab group getting ready to rub a foam square of insulation with rabbit fur to charge it.

Ready to rub, charge and discharge :)
Ready to rub, charge and discharge 🙂

We also played with our Van de Graaff and off course included some hair raising!

Hair raising for Melissa
Hair raising for Melissa

Hair raising for Natalie
Hair raising for Natalie

Oscillations

Physheads love to oscillate.

Preparing to oscillate
Preparing to oscillate
Pondering Oscillations
Pondering Oscillations
Sara helps another group with LoggerPro
Sara helps another group with LoggerPro

LoggerPro is a great piece of software from Vernier, which has very good curve fitting capabilities as you can see in this screen shot:

Underdamped Oscillation
Underdamped Oscillation

Archimedes Lab

Archimedes was such an amazing scientist, perhaps the greatest of antiquity, it is always delightful to recall the Eureka tale and consider the application of Archimedes’ Principle to the plethora of boats which populate the waters around DUML.

Boats -- Think Archimedes and Bouyant Forces
Boats -- Think Archimedes and Bouyant Forces

Students tend to enjoy this lab and are frequently heard exclaiming Eureka!
JJ and a bouyant force
JJ and a bouyant force

Work-Energy Lab

The second official lab allows students to figure out a procedure for determining the work done by friction for a typical introductory mechanics situation; namely, carts with an attached “friction pad” accelerated up an inclined plane. Anytime we can get out of the book and work out the concepts in the real world, issues can arise 😉

Issues with the "real world"
Issues with the "real world"

Of course, most groups just enjoy the hands on exploring —

All Smiles for Work-Energy Lab
All Smiles for Work-Energy Lab