If you have an air hockey table, you know that the puck floats on a thin cushion of air when the table is turned on. With little friction, the puck can travel very fast. How much lift force is created by the air? Add small amounts of weight to the puck and see when it no longer floats to measure the lift force. How many air holes (on average) support the puck? How much force is generated by each air hole? Will a puck with a larger surface area, supported by more air holes (on average),…
You can model this with an ice cube sliding down a plank: how high do you need to lift the end of the plank before the ice cube starts to slide? Try this with one side plain wood and the flip side waxed wood (use paraffin wax, candle wax or ski wax). Make sure both sides are equally smooth to start with. Do at least three trials. More advanced: using what you know about the forces acting on the ice cube, derive equations to calculate the coefficient of friction for each case. Variation:…
How does ski wax affect the sliding friction of skis? You can model this with an ice cube sliding down a plank: how high do you need to lift the end of the plank before the ice cube starts to slide? Try this with one side plain wood and the flip side waxed wood (use paraffin wax, candle wax or ski wax). Make sure both sides are equally smooth to start with. Do at least three trials. More advanced: using what you know about the forces acting on the ice cube, derive equations to calculate the…
If you live in a humid environment, then you know that summer is not only hot, it is downright muggy. You can test the effect of humidity on temperature by measuring the temperature and humidity in your bathroom while running the shower. You can also use historical weather data to compare average seasonal temperatures in humid (e.g., Florida) and dry (e.g., Arizona) regions. How does humidity relate to temperature? Pressure? Why do humid environments tend to be coastal or tropical? How does…
Wind can make a cold day colder, or a hot day more pleasant. Use weather data to test the effect of wind on the temperature. How much of a change on the perceived temperature can the wind make? How is wind shear calculated? How can a wind barrier, like a wind breaker, keep you warm even if there is no insulating material? Build an instrument to measure wind speed or direction. (FI, 2006; GLOBE, 2006; NCAR, 2006; NOAA, 2006; Unisys, 2006; Weather Underground, 2006; WMO, 2006)
Temperature also changes with latitude. As you move away from the equator, the temperature tends to decrease. Test this by comparing weather data from weather stations at different latitudes. (FI, 2006; GLOBE, 2006; NCAR, 2006; NOAA, 2006; Unisys, 2006; Weather Underground, 2006; WMO, 2006)
Measuring the value of a resistor with a multimeter is pretty simple. You set the multimeter to measure resistance, connect the two leads to the resistor (possibly using some handy alligator clips), and read the resistance value. This is called a two-point measurement (one probe on each of the two resistor leads). But what if the resistance you want to measure is very small, in the milli or micro-ohm (mΩ or μΩ) range? This can introduce problems because many low-cost multimeters…
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Short (2-5 days)
To do this project, you should be familiar with Ohm's Law, and with the basics of using a digital multimeter (see our Multimeter Tutorial to learn more).
Does the force of drag have an effect on the distance the puck will travel? Think of a way to launch the puck with a reproducible force, and examine the effect of launching the puck in different orientations on the distance it travels. For more information on the physics, see Haché, 2002.
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