Specific Heats of Oil and Water

A volunteer puts her hands in oil and water in large beakers on thermostated hot plates, at about 60°C. The water beaker hand is removed almost instantly. The oil beaker hand can remain indefinitely.

The heat capacity of oil is about half that of water. Oil is thought of as hotter because it can be heated to higher temperatures than boiling water, but at the same temperature, water moves more heat into your hand than oil does.

Inverse Square Law

[XL | t++ | ***]  inverse square law, luminosity

What it shows:  The intensity of light from a point source decreases as 1/r2, where r is the distance from the source.

How it works:  For the point light source, we use a 1500 watt clear light bulb. The detector is a small solar panel.1 The output current is directly proportional to the intensity of the light falling on the panel and the current is displayed on an analog milliameter. (The current can also be measured by a digital meter or computer.) Measured...

Read more about Inverse Square Law
Coke Can Buoyancy

What it shows

An unopened can of Diet Coke floats in a tank of water, whereas the same cannot be said for a can of regular Coca-Cola.

photo of fish tank with can of diet coke floating in it

Setting it up

Use the smallest available tank. If unopened cans are not already in the Prep Room, they can be procured...

Read more about Coke Can Buoyancy
Erector Spinae Muscle Forces

A realistic model of the forces in the erector spinae muscles that support the back when bent over.

What it Shows:

This is an analysis of the tensions in muscles and forces on joints as an application of torques in static equilibrium situations. The muscles involved in supporting the human torso in a stooped position are realistically modeled, and the extraordinary large forces calculated and demonstrated.

How it Works:

When bending over into a stooped position, the principal muscles which support the back are the erector...

Read more about Erector Spinae Muscle Forces
Bosun's Chair

Block and tackle, or a simple pulley, attached to hall ceiling for lecturer to hoist self.

bosuns chair

Reactionary Roadbed

Radio controlled car moves one way while road moves the other.

What it shows:

We tell our students that, when a car drives down the road, the road and the Earth move in the opposite direction, albeit imperceptibly. This demonstration is a realization of that concept, made possible (and perceptible) by the fact that the road is not attached to the Earth.


Read more about Reactionary Roadbed