In desperate need for a DIY experiment that I can do at home

In summary, my teacher said that EM induction could be a good topic to pursue if I can find a Mechanics experiment with a high enough mathematical complexity.
  • #1
billyt_
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TL;DR Summary
I need an experiment which I can do at home that I can use to derive a relationship (with decently hard maths)
I am doing a project for Physics at the moment, and I am really struggling to come up with ideas. By that I mean, I have plenty of ideas but none of them are really feasible for what I am doing, i.e., impractical to do at home (too much work in doing the actual experiment), or that the actual maths and physics involved is either too easy or too hard. Therefore, I am looking for an experiment that I can do at home, but at the same time can apply some complex physics concepts to (I'm talking roughly 1st/2nd year University level physics). I am quite interested in Electromagnetic induction, but my teacher said that it is too easy and within the scope of the course, however, any ideas or guidance on where I can take this topic, or suggestions of other ideas and experiments are really appreciated.
 
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  • #2
I would try looking through this website - instructables.com. You're bound to find something that fits your needs.
 
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  • #3
Borg said:
I would try looking through this website - instructables.com. You're bound to find something that fits your needs.
Thanks! I'll give it a look
 
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  • #4
Welcome to PF.

billyt_ said:
... Therefore, I am looking for an experiment that I can do at home, but at the same time can apply some complex physics concepts to ...
Is your home in the city, suburban, rural or forest ?
 
  • #5
billyt_ said:
Summary:: I need an experiment which I can do at home that I can use to derive a relationship (with decently hard maths)

I have plenty of ideas but none of them are really feasible for what I am doing, i.e., impractical to do at home (too much work in doing the actual experiment), or that the actual maths and physics involved is either too easy or too hard. Therefore, I am looking for an experiment that I can do at home, but at the same time can apply some complex physics concepts to (I'm talking roughly 1st/2nd year University level physics).

You mentioned in your New Member Introduction thread that you are in high school:
billyt_ said:
I'm in High School in Australia and taking Higher Level IB Physics, and Higher Level Analysis and Applications Maths.

So you are wanting to increase the difficulty of the project up to 1st/2nd year of university? That's admirable. Can you say a bit more about the types of subjects in Physics that your teacher would be likely to approve of?
 
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  • #6
I don't think EM induction is always simple. How about the standard "magnet falling down a tube" experiment. But with different tube materials and dimensions. Then you create formula(s) to determine the material resistivity depending on the dimensions, magnet strength, etc. I don't think the experiments are too hard, but the analytical modelling of what's happening is.
 
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  • #7
berkeman said:
You mentioned in your New Member Introduction thread that you are in high school:So you are wanting to increase the difficulty of the project up to 1st/2nd year of university? That's admirable. Can you say a bit more about the types of subjects in Physics that your teacher would be likely to approve of?
Some advice that he has given me so far includes:
- generally steer clear of fluid mechanics if it involves Navier Stokes. I was looking at a Heron's Fountain which works, but it is impractical to build ten different fountains with different pipe diameters in order to get a good number of data points.
- He said that applied mechanics can be a good topic, i.e., a Wilberforce pendulum could possibly be a plausible idea, as the maths that describe its motion is quite interesting. He said that if I can find a mechanics experiment with a high enough mathematical complexity then this is quite good as the experiments in this area tend to be a lot easier to do at home.

To give you an idea, here are some of the things that I have thought about so far:
- Double Pendulum (chaotic motion so this is a bit sketchy)
- Magnus Effect
- Helicopter (wing angle vs. lift?)(frequency vs. lift) hard to control variables though
- Herons Fountain
- Fluid in a rotating cylinder, rotational period vs. height of the fluid on the walls of the cylinder
- EM Braking/Lenz's Law, in this area some of the ideas I had are: velocity vs. voltage produced, diameter of coil vs. voltage produced, number of coils vs. voltage produced. In this area my teacher said that if I was to give EM Induction an interesting spin it could be a viable topic.

Thanks for the help!
 
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  • #8
DaveE said:
I don't think EM induction is always simple. How about the standard "magnet falling down a tube" experiment. But with different tube materials and dimensions. Then you create formula(s) to determine the material resistivity depending on the dimensions, magnet strength, etc. I don't think the experiments are too hard, but the analytical modelling of what's happening is.
Thanks a lot for this, this is quite helpful. I was thinking about velocity vs. voltage produced as a magnet falls through a coil, and I guess I could extrapolate that to determine resistance and maybe even MFS, but I will have to see if I can figure out a formula to relate them.

Thanks for the help!
 
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  • #9
billyt_ said:
- EM Braking/Lenz's Law, in this area some of the ideas I had are: velocity vs. voltage produced, diameter of coil vs. voltage produced, number of coils vs. voltage produced. In this area my teacher said that if I was to give EM Induction an interesting spin it could be a viable topic.
That's what @DaveE suggested in post #6. It is visually quite amazing to see, so it makes good demos.
 
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  • #10
Baluncore said:
Welcome to PF.Is your home in the city, suburban, rural or forest ?
Hi, I live in a suburban area, so I have a fair bit of room to do sizeable experiments. For example, I have a garage, and can go to parks for experiments.

Thanks
 
  • #11
anorlunda said:
That's what @DaveE suggested in post #6. It is visually quite amazing to see, so it makes good demos.

Thanks a lot. I know that it's a really cool experiment which is why I wanted to do it, however the only thing is whether the analysis is far enough outside the scope of the course that we already do to give a high scoring extended essay. For example, we already do rate of change of magnetic flux in class, so I would probably have to find someway to derive the formulas I get from the experiment, from the Maxwell Equations, in order to make it more interesting, however, I will talk to my teacher about this.

Thanks for the help!
 
  • #12
How about a simple pendulum with larger and larger amplitudes? At small amplitudes it is approximately simple harmonic motion, but as the amplitude is increased the equations become non-linear and the math is actually fairly complicated. It's a simple experiment to do, but the mathematical analysis requires elliptic integrals.
 
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  • #13
phyzguy said:
How about a simple pendulum with larger and larger amplitudes? At small amplitudes it is approximately simple harmonic motion, but as the amplitude is increased the equations become non-linear and the math is actually fairly complicated. It's a simple experiment to do, but the mathematical analysis requires elliptic integrals.
This is actually a really good idea, I'll speak to my teacher about it. Thanks a lot!
Edit: I'm also looking at a Wilberforce pendulum at the moment, which is looking quite promising and I'm just looking at the forumula's to see which variables I can plot.
 
  • #14
billyt_ said:
I'm also looking at a Wilberforce pendulum at the moment,
I can see from your responses that this suggestion appealed to you and that is probably the best reason for going for it. The whole subject of coupled oscillators can take you into all sorts of scenarios. If you can obtain a good, rigid support then you can use thin wires and rigid rods as the pendulae then you will get repeatable results (cell phone stopwatch would be easily available).
 
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  • #15
One of the most interesting experiments I did as an undergraduate student involved using a camera with motions tracking software to track the "real world" motion of a piece of metal "orbiting" an electromagnet.
As far as I remember we ended up plotting the "orbits" as a function of the magnetic field strength,.
Similar experiments could of course be done with e.g. a double pendulum,

Back then (>25 years ago) this required some expensive kit; but today I am, pretty sure you could to the same using a regular cheap webcam(maybe even a phone?) and the right tracking software.
Might be worth looking into.
 
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  • #16
sophiecentaur said:
I can see from your responses that this suggestion appealed to you and that is probably the best reason for going for it. The whole subject of coupled oscillators can take you into all sorts of scenarios. If you can obtain a good, rigid support then you can use thin wires and rigid rods as the pendulae then you will get repeatable results (cell phone stopwatch would be easily available).
I ended up speaking to my teacher and we decided that a Wilberforce Pendulum would be a good topic to do. Thanks for the help!
 
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  • #17
f95toli said:
One of the most interesting experiments I did as an undergraduate student involved using a camera with motions tracking software to track the "real world" motion of a piece of metal "orbiting" an electromagnet.
As far as I remember we ended up plotting the "orbits" as a function of the magnetic field strength,.
Similar experiments could of course be done with e.g. a double pendulum,

Back then (>25 years ago) this required some expensive kit; but today I am, pretty sure you could to the same using a regular cheap webcam(maybe even a phone?) and the right tracking software.
Might be worth looking into.
As of now I have decided on doing a Wilberforce Pendulum, but this sounds really interesting so I might look into doing it for my other project that I will have to do. Thanks for the idea!
 
  • #18
billyt_ said:
I ended up speaking to my teacher and we decided that a Wilberforce Pendulum would be a good topic to do. Thanks for the help!
Please, see how the geometry of coil springs changes when extended:

https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Change-in-coil-spring-geometry-during-deformation_fig11_254499922

https://faraday.physics.utoronto.ca/PHY182S/WilberforcePendulum.pdf

Coil springs.png


 
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  • #19
You only need the smallest amount of coupling between (in particular) high Q resonators to get this effect. Motor car suspensions can give scary results if the dampers start to fail because the periods on each side are the same'. I had a Renault 4 with torsion bar suspension and trailing links on the back. A friend, passing me on the motorway (everyone passed me!) said that one back wheel would leave the ground for a while, settle down in contact and then take off again. The damper was pretty well non-existent on that side.
Good luck with the investigation, whichever version you choose.
 
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  • #20
Lnewqban said:
Please, see how the geometry of coil springs changes when extended:

https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Change-in-coil-spring-geometry-during-deformation_fig11_254499922

https://faraday.physics.utoronto.ca/PHY182S/WilberforcePendulum.pdf

View attachment 292737


Thanks for this, did you take this from a textbook or a paper? Would you be able to let me know the name?

Thanks a lot!

Edit: Never mind I can see the link to the paper.
 
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  • #21
sophiecentaur said:
You only need the smallest amount of coupling between (in particular) high Q resonators to get this effect. Motor car suspensions can give scary results if the dampers start to fail because the periods on each side are the same'. I had a Renault 4 with torsion bar suspension and trailing links on the back. A friend, passing me on the motorway (everyone passed me!) said that one back wheel would leave the ground for a while, settle down in contact and then take off again. The damper was pretty well non-existent on that side.
Good luck with the investigation, whichever version you choose.
This is quite useful for the "applications of the physics concept", thanks a lot for the info!
 
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  • #22
billyt_ said:
This is quite useful for the "applications of the physics concept", thanks a lot for the info!
There are stories of two highly accurate 'frequency standard' oscillators talking to each other between rooms in a building. Incredibly high Q and incredibly low coupling.
 
  • #23
Dang, this brings back memories of my undergraduate advanced physics lab.

Probably the hardest experiment I ever had to write up.
 

1. What materials do I need for a DIY experiment at home?

The materials needed will depend on the specific experiment you choose to do. Some common materials that can be found at home include water, food coloring, vinegar, baking soda, salt, sugar, and various household items such as cups, bowls, and spoons. It is best to research the experiment beforehand to ensure you have all the necessary materials.

2. Can I do a DIY experiment without any special equipment?

Yes, there are many DIY experiments that can be done at home without any special equipment. Many experiments use common household items and can be done with just a few simple tools such as measuring cups and spoons. However, some experiments may require specialized equipment, so it is important to research beforehand.

3. How can I make sure my DIY experiment is safe?

Safety should always be a top priority when conducting any experiment. Make sure to read and follow all instructions carefully and wear appropriate protective gear, such as gloves or goggles, if needed. It is also important to conduct the experiment in a well-ventilated area and to have adult supervision, especially for children.

4. Where can I find ideas for DIY experiments to do at home?

There are many resources available for finding DIY experiment ideas, such as science websites, educational books, and YouTube channels. You can also get creative and come up with your own ideas by observing the world around you and thinking of questions you want to answer through experimentation.

5. How can I make my DIY experiment more challenging?

If you are looking to make your DIY experiment more challenging, you can try altering the variables or changing the materials used. You can also try conducting the experiment multiple times and recording your results to see if there are any patterns or trends. Additionally, you can research similar experiments and see if you can modify them to make them more complex.

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