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Energy and Momentum

Resonance and Damped Harmonic Motion

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Submitted by Rich on Thu, 06/20/2019 - 02:47

Introduction

Resonance can be defined in a number of ways.  The most common definition is that resonance occurs at the frequency at which forced oscillations produce maximum amplitude.  When the driving forces of oscillation are removed, friction gradually decreases the amplitude.  This is known as damped harmonic motion.  Most young children experience resonance as well as damped harmonic motion in schoolyard playgrounds.  They experience resonance while pumping the swing at the right frequency--the natural frequency of the swing.  They experience dampe

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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.

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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

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Newton’s Third Law

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Submitted by DaveBakker on Tue, 04/23/2019 - 18:14

Engineering Crash Cushions to Learn Newton's Third Law

Newton's third law states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. By crashing a physics cart into a wall, various crash cushions can be used to reduce the forces experience by the cart.

The "Speeder Upper" - Translational and Rotational Motion Study

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Submitted by Rich on Wed, 04/17/2019 - 19:08

What's a "Speeder Upper"?

As shown in Figure 1, a "Speeder Upper" is a pair of disks that are connected by a short rod of much smaller radius.  The NSTA science ruler gives you a feel for the dimensions of the Speeder Upper.  The disks are 0.5" thick and 2.5" in diameter and are connected by a short 5/16" diameter wood dowel rod.  The 3D printer stl file for the disks is provided with this lesson in the event that you want to make a Speeder Upper for use in your physics classroom.

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Ideal Gas Law Verified in a Steel Balls Lab

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Submitted by Rich on Tue, 03/05/2019 - 22:18

Introduction to the Ideal Gas Law

The ideal gas law is commonly seen in the form PV = nRT, where P is the pressure, V is the volume, T is the absolute temperature, n is the amount of the gas in moles, and R is the ideal gas constant.  It is a composite form of Boyle's, Charles's, Avogadro's, and Gay Lussac's laws.  This law helps to explain how many things work, including bicycle pumps, hot air balloons, pressure cookers, and steam engines, just to mention a few.

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Hysteresis with Rubber Bands

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Submitted by Rich on Wed, 02/06/2019 - 17:49

Introduction to Hysteresis

Hysteresis can be defined as a lag time in the response of a system to forces placed on the system.  The response of the system depends not only on the present magnitude of the force but also on the previous history of the system.  From the point of view of mathematics, the response to the force is a double-valued function.  This means that one value applies when the force is increasing, while another value applies when the force is decreasing.  A graphical plot of force and re

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Rotational Motion: Moment of Inertia

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Submitted by Rich on Thu, 01/24/2019 - 20:05

Rotational Motion and Moment of Inertia Lab Setup

Figure 1 shows a ramp and three distinctly different objects that you will release from rest at the top.  Each object will roll downward to the end of the ramp without slipping, resulting in rotational motion.  The roll of Gorilla tape has a shape known as an annular cylinder.  The can of jellied cranberry sauce is a solid cylinder.  The cardboard tube, in contrast to the can, is hollow.  All three of these objects will rotate about their central cylinder axis while rolling down the ramp.  Each of these three objects has a

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Physics from a Croquet Mallet and Ball

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Submitted by Rich on Sat, 01/19/2019 - 20:23

Introduction

Various forms of the sport now known as croquet have been around for centuries.  Plastic or wooden balls are struck with a mallet through hoops, called wickets in the United States.  The components of a typical croquet set are shown in Figure 1.  Very popular in the UK, there is even a World Croquet Federation for those who take the sport seriously.  In the United States, it is common to set up croquet as a garden game at graduation and birthday parties.  But who would have thought that a croquet ball and mallet equipped with PocketLab Voyager and the PocketL

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