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Circular Motion and Simple Harmonic Motion

Simultaneous shadow projection of circular motion and bouncing weight on spring.

What It Shows

One of the simplest of periodic motions is uniform circular motion. By shadow projecting both uniform circular motion and oscillatory simple harmonic motion onto a screen, one can show that these two seemingly different kinds of motion are actually identical.

How It Works

A 8 cm diameter plastic ball mounted near the edge of a 46 cm diameter disk undergoes uniform circular motion. The disk, oriented vertically, is driven by a 57 RPM motor.1 A large...

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RL Time Constant

What it shows:

The growth and decay of current in an RL circuit with a time constant visible in real time.

How it works:

By choosing the values of resistance and inductance, a time constant can be selected with a value in seconds. The time constant τ is given by

τ = L/R

We chose two resistance values, 4.7K and 10K coupled with a 45kH UNILAB 1 induction coil giving time constants of 9.5sec and 4.5sec respectively.

The circuit is set out on a 1.0 × 0.5m plywood board. The actual...

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Poisson's Spot

Diffraction produces a bright spot where Poisson believed there would be darkness.

Poisson's Spot

What It Shows

Edge diffraction around a 1/8" diameter steel ball bearing results in a visible spot in the center of its shadow. In 1818 this result—to the chagrin of Siméon D. Poisson—...

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Inflating Universe

What it shows:

According to present accepted theory the Universe came into existence some 17 billion years ago as a Big Bang and is currently expanding. You can model the expansion of space in two dimensions using a balloon.

inflating universe

How it works...

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Poiseuille's Law

What it shows

Poiseulle determined that the laminar flow rate of an incompressible fluid along a pipe is proportional to the fourth power of the pipe's radius. To test his idea, we'll show that you need sixteen tubes to pass as much water as one tube twice their diameter.

How it works

Poiseulle's law states that the flow rate Q is also dependant upon fluid viscosity η, pipe length L, and the pressure difference between the ends P by

...

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Shoot-n-Catch

Ball shot up from PASCO cart is caught by same; a puzzler to ponder if track is tilted and cart accelerates down (or decelerates up).

shoot-n-catch

Bow and Arrow

Use conservation of energy to predict the height the arrow will reach.

bow and arrow

What it shows:

When the string of a bow and arrow is pulled from equilibrium, the elastic potential energy in the bow is converted to kinetic energy of the arrow when the string is released. When the arrow...

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Driven Damped Oscillator

Single air track glider, with and without variable frequency driver, variable damping, and oscilloscope position vs. time display.

What It Shows

With one end of the car attached via a spring to the end of the track and the other end of the car coupled (via a similar spring) to a driving motor, we can see how the car behaves when it is driven below, at, and above the resonance frequency. Markings on the motor help to show the phase relationships between the driver and car at different frequencies. A storage scope tracks the motion of the car (see Setting It Up...

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RC Time Constant

Charging and discharging of a 10µF capacitor with variable time constant.

What it shows:

The growth and decay of current in an RC circuit with a time constant chosen so that the charge and discharge is visible in real time.

How it works:

By choosing the values of resistance and capacitance, a time constant can be selected with a value in seconds. The time constant τ is given by

τ = RC

To obtain useful values, we chose three resistors 100K, 200K and 400K in series with a 10µF capacitor, giving time constants of...

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