# Building a Physics Machine: 6 Concepts, 12 Units

• Gurinder R
In summary, the conversation discusses a physics project where the student must build a machine using at least 6 physics concepts. The suggested concepts include ramps, pulleys, levers, transfer of momentum/energy, projectile motion, circular motion, stored elastic energy in a spring or like, harmonic motion, pendulums, impulse, inelastic or elastic collisions, electricity, magnetism, light, and photocells. The teacher suggests keeping the project simple and mentions various units in the grade 12 physics curriculum that could be included. The student considers building a catapult but is reminded to include more physics concepts. They discuss using a lever and a pulley to launch the catapult and possibly adding a spring. The teacher suggests a Rube Goldberg machine as
Gurinder R
Hello, I am in Grade 12 physics class and I have been given a open ended project; where we are required to build/create a machine which would involve at least 6 of the physics concepts:

ramps, pulleys, levers, transfer of momentum/energy, projectile motion, circular motion, stored elastic energy in a spring or like, harmonic motion, pendulums, impulse, inelastic or elastic
collisions, electricity, magnetism, light, photocells.

We can talk to our teacher and add anything else if it follows grade 12 curriculum.

Unit 1 Kinematics
Unit 2 Dynamics
Unit 3 WEM
Unit 4 GEM fields
Unit 5 Modern Physics
Unit 5 Light

I was first thinking of a rube goldberg machine but it would be too time consuming and hard to setup... as anyone in the class should be able to perform the machine.

Just keep it simple is my best suggestion. It could be as simple as setting up a ball to roll down a ramp into another ball. You can add things like levers or pulleys or whatever to release the ball. What do you WANT to build? This is your project after all.

Drakkith said:
Just keep it simple is my best suggestion. It could be as simple as setting up a ball to roll down a ramp into another ball. You can add things like levers or pulleys or whatever to release the ball. What do you WANT to build? This is your project after all.

well i was thinking of building a catapult but that is just transfer of energy. projectile and levers.

pulley - circular motion - stored elastic energy in a spring or like - lever - transfer of momentum/energy - projectile motion - inelastic or elastic collision ... hmm reminds me of something :)

Gurinder R said:
well i was thinking of building a catapult but that is just transfer of energy. projectile and levers.

Are you sure? I see at least 1-2 more physics concepts from your list that can apply. What will cause the catapult to launch?

Delta Kilo said:
pulley - circular motion - stored elastic energy in a spring or like - lever - transfer of momentum/energy - projectile motion - inelastic or elastic collision ... hmm reminds me of something :)

hmm...?

Drakkith said:
Are you sure? I see at least 1-2 more physics concepts from your list that can apply. What will cause the catapult to launch?

a lever would launch the catapult, i was thinking maybe i can pull the lever by using a pulley and a mass?

Gurinder R said:
a lever would launch the catapult, i was thinking maybe i can pull the lever by using a pulley and a mass?

Sure, that is an option. Can you think of anything to add to the catapult that would be one of the other physics concepts?

Drakkith said:
Sure, that is an option. Can you think of anything to add to the catapult that would be one of the other physics concepts?

a spring?

I think your first idea was a good one--a Rube Goldberg device doesn't necessarily have to be huge or complicated, and it has the added bonus of allowing you to demonstrate each of those principles separately.

For instance, you could start off with a miniature car on a track that begins a couple of feet above the table. You could start it moving forward with a spring-loaded mechanism (like a pinball plunger), then have it twirl downward along the track. Then you could have it crash into something, perhaps roll into a bay at the end which puts it back at the top again via a lift. That would easily cover the requirements.

Sounds like fun, actually :)

alienprophecy said:
I think your first idea was a good one--a Rube Goldberg device doesn't necessarily have to be huge or complicated, and it has the added bonus of allowing you to demonstrate each of those principles separately.

For instance, you could start off with a miniature car on a track that begins a couple of feet above the table. You could start it moving forward with a spring-loaded mechanism (like a pinball plunger), then have it twirl downward along the track. Then you could have it crash into something, perhaps roll into a bay at the end which puts it back at the top again via a lift. That would easily cover the requirements.

Sounds like fun, actually :)

what type of concepts would it implement?

I can see springs, ramps, circular motion, pulleys, transfer of energy...

Gurinder R said:
a spring?

Sure, you could use a spring. I'd say you pretty much have most of your project's concepts figured out. If you can add another concept to it then you'll be good.

Gurinder R said:
what type of concepts would it implement?

I can see springs, ramps, circular motion, pulleys, transfer of energy...

From what I wrote, that is a pretty good inventory. Getting one or two more in there wouldn't be too much of a problem--for instance, you could use a latch to hold back the pinball plunger/spring device that launches the car, then lift it with a lever. Lighting tricks would be easy--maybe you could have the track go partially under a body of water, to show refraction. There are tons of ideas--about half of your project is how you present it, because you could turn in a stick and argue for a bunch of the forces already (light, electrical forces holding the stick together, the Earth rotating through space, etc.)

alienprophecy said:
From what I wrote, that is a pretty good inventory. Getting one or two more in there wouldn't be too much of a problem--for instance, you could use a latch to hold back the pinball plunger/spring device that launches the car, then lift it with a lever. Lighting tricks would be easy--maybe you could have the track go partially under a body of water, to show refraction. There are tons of ideas--about half of your project is how you present it, because you could turn in a stick and argue for a bunch of the forces already (light, electrical forces holding the stick together, the Earth rotating through space, etc.)

i was just wondering umm would the car have enough energy to hit the lever so the pulley can operate with the electric motor...?

I have attached a preliminary sketch of the project but my questions is would the electromagnet be able to attract the metal ball in motion?

This would include:

Springs
Ramps
Circular Motion
Light (Refraction)
Projectile
Electricity
Magnetism
Forces
Transfer of Energy

I wanted to know if copper wire is the best for coil and for a core wire hangers.

9v would be sufficient?

## 1. What is a "Physics Machine"?

A "Physics Machine" is a term used to describe a device or system that is designed to demonstrate or study various principles of physics. It can be as simple as a pendulum or as complex as a particle accelerator.

## 2. What are the 6 main concepts of "Building a Physics Machine"?

The 6 main concepts are force and motion, energy, waves and sound, electricity and magnetism, light and optics, and modern physics.

## 3. How many units are included in "Building a Physics Machine"?

There are 12 units in total, with two units for each of the 6 main concepts. Each unit includes activities, experiments, and projects to help understand and apply the concepts.

## 4. Is "Building a Physics Machine" suitable for all ages?

Yes, "Building a Physics Machine" is suitable for all ages, although some units may be more challenging for younger children. It is designed to engage and educate learners of all ages and backgrounds.

## 5. Do I need any special equipment to build the physics machine?

Most of the activities and experiments in "Building a Physics Machine" can be done with common household items. However, some units may require specific materials or tools, which will be listed in the instructions for each project.

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