Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Design Investigation. HELP!

  1. Aug 18, 2005 #1
    Hi I am a year 12 student from Australia and I have to design an experiment. I have no idea what to do. Design is not my forte. I was thinking perhaps I could test whether density effects a material's ability to retain heat by testing the temperature change of a mass of water in a paper cup, plastic cup and foam cup. Would this work? What would I write about in my discussion? Help, please?!?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 19, 2005 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Experimental design involves calculating the range of observational results which will affirm or refute a prediction. This is done by quantifying the error terms of the detection devices with respect to the accuracy of results necessary to resolve the difference between a hit and a miss prediction.
  4. Aug 19, 2005 #3
    Thank you for your help but I don't actually have to perform the experiment I merely have to design it. It must make sense and must have relevent background information to support it. I came up with the idea and have spent many hours doing research but to know avail. Nothing I have found has confirmed for me that my idea is a reasonable one to test. Is it reasonable? And if so where can I find the logical and relevent background information to support my theory and designed experiment?
  5. Aug 19, 2005 #4
    Why not do something involving electromagnets.

    Perhaps test Faraday's law.

    That would be reasonably simple to do with the equipment your school has.
  6. Aug 19, 2005 #5
    Or do something with the single or double slit experiment. You know, light will diffract, also electrons.
  7. Aug 19, 2005 #6
    Hi. Thank you both very much for your suggestions. I didn't really want to change my topic this late in the game because I already have once (my teacher told me my initial experiment was a great idea so I finished the assignment and handed it up early and lucky I did because he said "I know I approved it to begin with but I don't think testing the specific heat of coffee will work because it is too complex a molecule". So I had to start again with two days to go! Fortunately I obtained an extension over the weekend so I'll be starting and finishing something that initially took me three weeks just to decide on the topic today!) I actually enjoyed the section on electromagnets very much so I am going to look into that one and see what sort of depth it will involve for the research information and the discussion (because that's where the real marks for the assignment are). So thank you for your help. And Kruger I liked your suggestion too but we have actually done a lot of single and double slit experiments in class during that unit of work and I know my teacher would appreciate it if we steered clear of anything remotely similar to class work but thanks anyway.
  8. Aug 20, 2005 #7
    I have had another idea. Can I test the conservation of momentum of a tennis ball, a golf ball and a basketball when thrown against a wall using a stroboscope to show that the velocities are the same but in opposite directions? Is that a fair experiment?
  9. Aug 20, 2005 #8

    Wow, you're already doing all the fun stuff! I wish I've done something like that when I was at your age!!

    I particularly liked your first proposal where you measure the rate of heat flow for different material to see if the density matters. Actually such thing would be easy to perform since all you gotta do is measure the temperature difference. But I still recommend that you do a thorought analysis before designing it. For example, if you're trying to test the difference in rate of heat flow due to the different density, you must use same objects or materials with different density!!

    Good Luck
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook