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Periodic Motion: Weights vs. Springs

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Submitted by Rich on Thu, 06/13/2019 - 16:54

Introduction

In a well-known 1938 book entitled "Demonstration Experiments in Physics", editor Richard Sutton describes a setup for producing periodic motion of a cart using weights instead of springs.  With today's technology this experiment can be done using an air disk, and data can be collected with PocketLab Voyager's rangefinder.  The data clearly shows that not all periodic motions are simple harmonic.  The restoring force when weights are used is constant, while the restoring force with springs is proportional to the displacement.  Springs produce simple harmonic

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Grade Level

Sensors for Forest Fires

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Submitted by Danny on Wed, 06/05/2019 - 19:41

Introduction to Forest Fires

Forest fires are a common natural disaster within western North America and pose a serious risk to many communities both nearby due to direct danger of the fire, as well as far away in the form of air pollution. Currently, in many places, some form of government employee will be in charge of looking out for forest fires and once identified, satellites and computer programs can be used to track its progression and predict where the fire will spread and where the smoke cloud will go.

Momentum Pendulum Rides the PocketLab HotRod

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Submitted by Rich on Sun, 05/26/2019 - 23:36

The Momentum Pendulum

The momentum pendulum is shown in Figure 1.  A frame (red) to hold the pendulum was printed on a 3D printer.  The STL file in included with this lesson.  The frame is solidly attached to the PocketLab HotRod with three damage-free hanging strips.  A roughly 3" diameter  wood ball with a screw eye attached to the top of the ball is hung from a bifilar suspension so that the ball will swing in a plane.  Two small holes at the top of the frame provide an easy way to prepare the string suspension.  The smaller set of wheels are used with the HotRod, and

Physics Galore with the PocketLab Swing

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Submitted by Rich on Mon, 05/20/2019 - 16:00

The PocketLab Voyager Swing

The PocketLab Voyager swing, 3D printable from the accompanying .STL file, offers your physics students a way to study a plethora of physics concepts in a single experiment. Figure 1 shows a closeup up the swing, approximately inches tall, inches wide, and inches deep.

Subject
Grade Level

Competing Pendulums

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Submitted by Rich on Sat, 05/18/2019 - 19:30

Competing Pendulums

The two pendulums shown in Figure 1 were printed on a 3D printer.  The .STL file is included with this lesson so you can print them with your 3D printer.  They have the same length, same mass, and same thickness.  They swing about a piece of metal rod from a coat hanger.  To provide a rigid support, the rod has been attached to a ring stand.  A tiny magnet has been taped to the bottom of each pendulum.  PocketLab Voyager's magnetic field sensor keeps track of the motion as the pendulums swing back-and-forth.  What is your prediction as to which one has

Simple Harmonic Motion Demonstration Machine

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Submitted by Rich on Thu, 05/09/2019 - 14:52

Introduction

In a well-known 1938 book entitled "Demonstration Experiments in Physics", editor Richard Sutton describes a device that produces simple harmonic motion (SHM) mechanically.  With today's tremendous growth in the 3D printing industry, such a device can now be easily constructed for classroom demonstrations of SHM.  Couple this device with PocketLab Voyager and you can obtain real-time graphs describing the motion.

PocketLab Air: Measuring Ozone

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Submitted by PocketLab on Mon, 05/06/2019 - 18:21

Background Information about Ozone

Ozone (O3) in our atmosphere is both good and bad. There is a helpful saying to remember is, “Ozone: good up high, bad nearby.” The “good” ozone is ozone high in our atmosphere that is part of the ozone layer. The ozone layer protects us from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. “Bad” ozone is ozone that occurs at ground level, where it can be inhaled. Ground level ozone is a pollutant and creates smog. 

PocketLab Air: Measuring Particulate Matter

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Submitted by PocketLab on Mon, 05/06/2019 - 17:41

Background Information on Particulate Matter

Particulate matter consists of small particles suspended in the atmosphere. Dust, pollen, sea salt, soil particles, mold, soot, smoke, and other fine substances create a mixture of particulate matter that we inhale with every breath. According to the EPA, particulate matter greater than 10 micrometers is generally filtered away in our nose and throat. Particulates less than 10 micrometers can often pass into the lungs.

PocketLab Air: Measuring Carbon Dioxide

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Submitted by PocketLab on Mon, 05/06/2019 - 17:13

Background Information

Carbon dioxide circulates naturally in Earth’s atmosphere as part of the carbon cycle (the process in which carbon dioxide is exchanged between the atmosphere, oceans, soil, plants, and animals). According to the EPA, since the industrial revolution, humans have altered the carbon cycle through activities like burning fossil fuels, which adds CO2 to the cycle, and deforestation which reduces natural ways in which CO2 is removed.