AP Physics project

1. Jun 4, 2005

katie14618

I have to do a project for my AP physics class. It’s due in about a week and I have no clue what to do for it. I’d like to do something that has to do with electricity but I’m open for any ideas. If any one has done or knows about a fun physics experiment, please tell me about it. It can’t be too hard to do because I’m not too knowledgeable in physics but it also can’t be too easy. Thanks.

P.S. I checked out the science fair project ideas post but I didn’t see anything there that seemed appropriate for an AP physics class.

2. Jun 4, 2005

neurocomp2003

any good at programming? do classical mechanics billiards balls esque simulation

Or some type of fluid dynamics.

3. Jun 4, 2005

Night Owl

You could make a solenoid/electromagnet. All you need is a DC power supply (= batteries hooked up in series), a rod made of a ferromagnetic metal (iron is probably the easiest to acquire), and a lot of wire. If you get enough current, you'll see noticeable effects.

There are equations that you can use/derive which will give you an idea of what kind of power supply, how many coils of wire you will need, etc.

Tip: don't hold the wires to the batteries with your hands. Apply them with something. An electrical jolt, while surprising, is not always fun. I speak from experience...

You could make a potato gun. They're cheap, easy to build and make, and are quite fun. You could apply some of your math/physics knowledge and try to compute some interesting things about it, like muzzle velocity, perhaps maximum firing chamber pressure, among other things.

Potato guns are fun.

You could make a trebuchet. With pretty simple concepts of rotational kinematics you can calculate what you need to build and then compare your calculations to the results. Plus, you get to throw things long distances. This one is probably the hardest to make.

You could do something with model rockets. Estes has lots of really cool rockets.

You could demonstrate electromagnetic induction (I think that's the right term) with a big magnet, a bit of wire, and a lightbulb. On this note, you could also try making a hand-powered generator of some kind.

You could read up a bit on basic circuit design and create some simple logic gates. You could combine them to form simple mathematic calculations, maybe. (A friend of mine did this, so I'm not sure how complicated it would be)

You could study the photoelectric effect -- that is, the effect that certain metals exhibit of creating an electric current when hooked up in a circuit and exposed to light of the right wavelength. Solar panels ahoy!

Last edited: Jun 4, 2005
4. Jun 5, 2005

katie14618

neurocomp2003: No, I’m not very good at programming. I’ve taken Java for 2 years but I only know the basics.

Night Owl: Thanks for all the ideas! I might try the electromagnet or electromagnetic induction.