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Physics

Magnetic Field on the Axis of a Current Loop

Submitted by Rich on Wed, 06/28/2017 - 02:07

In this lesson students will find that a current-carrying loop can be regarded as a magnetic dipole, as it generates a magnetic field for points on its axis.  The figure below shows a diagram and the equation for the magnetic field B.  Derivation of this equation requries knowledge of the Biot-Savart Law, calculus and trigonometry.  But in this lesson we are interested only in comparing experimental results from PocketLab's magnetometer to the theoretical equation in the figure below.  More advanced students can consider derivation of the equation, if they wish.

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Negative Exponentially Damped Harmonic Motion from a PocketLab Pendulum

Submitted by Rich on Wed, 06/28/2017 - 01:02

This experiment allows one to do a quantitative investigation of the damped harmonic motion of a swinging pendulum.  The pendulum is a piece of wood about a yard long from a Michael's hobby shop one end of which has been attached to a PocketLab by a rubber band.  The other end is taped to the top of a doorway, allowing the resultant pendulum to swing back-and-forth as shown in the image below.

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PocketLab on an Oscillating Cart

Submitted by Rich on Wed, 06/28/2017 - 00:57

An oscillating cart with a PocketLab provides an interesting way to study Newton's Second Law of Motion as well as some principles of damped harmonic motion.  The apparatus setup is shown in the figure below.  The small dynamics cart that can quickly be made from parts included in the PocketLab Maker Kit is shown in its equilibrium position.  Rubber bands are attached to each side of the cart and to two ring stands weighted down with some heavy books.  It is best to use rubber bands that provide as small Newton/meter as possible.  PocketLab is attached to the cart with its x-axis parallel t

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Quantitative Experiment to Determine the Relationship Between a Pendulum's Length and Period

Submitted by Rich on Wed, 06/28/2017 - 00:49

PocketLab is a perfect device for determining the quantitative relationship between the length of a pendulum and its period of oscillation.  Pendulums of known lengths were made from balsa wood strips such as those available from Michaels and other hobby stores.  The photo below shows six such pendulums of lengths 15, 30, 45, 60, 75, and 90 cm alongside a meter stick.  The picture shows that PocketLab was taped with double-stick mounting tape to the pendulum whose length is 45 cm.

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Grade Level

Acceleration is Proportional to the Square of the Velocity and Inversely Proportional to Radius

Submitted by Rich on Mon, 06/26/2017 - 18:35

PocketLab in conjunction with a 33-45-78 RPM turntable is an ideal setup for studying centripetal acceleration.  There are two videos that can be found in the Videos page of this web site.  They show that (1)  keeping radius constant implies that centripetal acceleration is proportional to the square of the velocity, (2) keeping velocity constant while varying the radius implies that centripetal acceleration is inversely proportional to the radius.

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Determining the Radius of Curvature of a Gradual Street Turn

Submitted by Rich on Mon, 06/26/2017 - 18:07

This lesson is a physics application of PocketLab that allows students to determine the radius of curvature of a gradual turn on a street.  A PocketLab mounted on the dashboard of a car records both the angular velocity and the centripetal acceleration of the car as it moves at a nearly constant speed around the curve.  All of the required data for an example problem are contained in files attached to this lesson.  Alternately, students can collect their own data.  If the latter approach is used, students should be cautioned to be safe: (1) follow all speed limits and traffic laws, and (2)

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The Physics of a Falling and Unrolling TP Roll

Submitted by Rich on Mon, 06/26/2017 - 17:57

Yes, that's right--the physics of a falling and unrolling toilet paper roll.  This experiment will give students practice in rotational motion of an object and translational motion of its center-of-mass.  It will also involve both the kinematics and dynamics of the motion. While it can be done by use of the VelocityLab app, interpretation of the angular velocity data from the PocketLab app is much easier.

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A Velocity Lab Experiment on Rolling Resistance

Submitted by Rich on Mon, 06/26/2017 - 17:45

Rolling resistance is a force that opposes the motion when an object rolls along a surface.  In this experiment a coasting cylinder on a carpet gradually slows down and stops due to rolling resistance.  The primary factor affecting rolling resistance here is deformation of the carpet as the cylinder rolls.  Not all of the energy needed to deform the carpet is recovered when the pressure from the cylinder is removed.  In other words, the effect is non-elastic.  The purpose of this experiment is two-fold:  (1) to determine the force of rolling resistance and (2) to determine the coefficient o

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VelocityLab Investigation of Damped Harmonic Motion

Submitted by Rich on Mon, 06/26/2017 - 17:28

This investigation shows how VelocityLab allows for a quick and easy demonstration of damped harmonic motion.  The photo below shows the experiment setup as performed by the author.  A jellied cranberry sauce can was selected as there is virtually no sloshing of the cranberry sauce as the can oscillates back-and-forth on a curved piece of laminate flooring.  The center of the flooring is clamped down to the table with an adjustable wrench.  The ends of the laminate flooring are raised a little with some small wood blocks.  The cranberry sauce can is shown at rest at the VelocityLab zero pos

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