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Homework Help: Investigatory project in physics

  1. Aug 11, 2004 #1
    please give me a topic for my investigatory project in physics.. i am only 15 years old.. so.. i need a topic that will fit for my age.. hehe.. can you can you??? please.. cant think of anything :confused:
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 11, 2004 #2


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    I don't think age is an issue. Physics is all around you. What interests you? Astronomy? Mechanics? Technology?

    I think it's best to find what you're interested in, then find out the Physics behind it.
  4. Aug 11, 2004 #3
    How about special relativity. Its gonna be simple to understand, and the math will be simple. Or the photoelecrtic effect, that is quantum but it is also very easy to understand and the math is easy.
  5. Aug 11, 2004 #4
    ahm think age is an issue *for me* .. i only need a simple topic.. something that would be easy to understand.. specially for those who are not that interested in physics.. like me? heheh.. its just that i hate energy laws or something.. but i dont hate science hehe i love chemistry all those chemical stuffs... neweiz it doesnt have to be complicated ayt...?
  6. Aug 11, 2004 #5
    ahm think age is an issue *for me* .. i only need a simple topic.. something that would be easy to understand.. specially for those who are not that interested in physics.. like me? heheh.. its just that i hate energy laws or something.. but i dont hate science hehe i love chemistry all those chemical stuffs... neweiz it doesnt have to be complicated ayt...?
  7. Aug 11, 2004 #6
    hey what about special relativity? or photoelectric effect? OMG dont know that stuffs at all..... :uhh: can you tell me something bout that? i need a problem bout those stuff... hey im sorry.. hehe i really dunt know that.. :frown: please help me.... please mwahugz thankies !!! :biggrin:
  8. Aug 12, 2004 #7
    I was 14 when I did a project on Simple Harmonic Motion. Do a google search on it.
  9. Aug 12, 2004 #8
    Any time you use a mathematical equation to describe a system and predict things about it you are doing physics. Some extremely simple ideas might be:


    This can be done with something that falls, a stopwatch, and carefull measurements. Your goal would be to find the time it takes the object to fall different hights and plot them on a graph. Then you would try to find an equation that described it. Of course, we already know what equation describes it, so it would be an easy task.


    This will require a measurement device (a voltemeter), some wirings, batteries and other odds and ends. You can get everything you need at radioshack. You can explore the relationship of voltage, resistance and current. You could also bring in things like capacitors and inductors to explore their effect on the system.


    The suggestion for the simple harmonic oscilator is a good one. How about the force required to bend various thickness of a piece of metal or metals? The hardness of various objects?

    Those sound too simple to me, but they can be made more complicated without much work. I can also think of slightly more advanced projects that are still reasonably easy. Electrochemistry sure sounds complicated, but you can do alot of neat experiments in that are reasonably simple, don't cost too much and look great.

    Some trial and error is required here. Choose an idea. Explore it. If it doesen't work, do the next. Picking an idea that you can do is probably the toughest part of this.
  10. Aug 12, 2004 #9


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    I second Locrian's last point. At 16 I spent ages trying to think of a Physics project which would both interest me and satisfy the (vague) project brief. I ended up looking at distortion of guitar signals through an amplifier and relating my findings to the actual sounds found in music.
    Guitar in lab + 1960s throwback physics lab technician = hours of jamming! Just DO pick something you're interested in, or you'll end up spending 4 weeks studying transient temperature properties of glue. Mmm.
  11. Aug 12, 2004 #10
    Forced oscillation with a spring.

    Mathematical look at a guitar fret board, especially in regards to overtones.

    Moment of Inertia of rolling objects down a ramp. (Vary the size, mass, and mass distribution and note which cylinders roll down fastest.) Would also be a good demonstration of random and systematic error.
  12. Aug 13, 2004 #11


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    How about quantum dots? Read the book "Hacking Matter" and you'll know all about it. You don't have to build anything do you?

    Quantum dots are a form of a thing that makes programmable atoms. Programmable atoms, meaning one can create any atom's properties they want, by running a certin amount of electric current though the quantum dot. Only properties not represented are its half-life and radiation related stuff. Very costly at this point though. What physics class are you taking? Like Intro to Physics?
  13. Aug 13, 2004 #12


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    by the way... what does "mwahugz thankies" mean? Really, I want to know

    Much hugs, thanks... or
    mugs thankies...
    or is it like "fer schizzle muh nizzler fer fizzle schizzle!"
  14. Aug 13, 2004 #13
    You could do a project on lasers and optics. Nowadays you can get a high quality laser pointer for about $20 (Canadian) that are supposed to be able to make holograms. Never tried it myself so I admit I'm a little skeptical, but hey it's worth looking into. Or perhaps do a project centred around using a laser pointer to recreate Young's double slit demonstration on the wave nature of light. Tonnes of options if you decide to go down the optics route.
  15. Aug 13, 2004 #14
    heyyy i love yah hehe :biggrin: mwahugz> MWAH like a smack or a kiss ayt? hugz like hugs! hehehe.. <mwahugz> like hugs and kisses.. :biggrin: thankies means thanks a lot.. :biggrin:

    btw thanks for your suggestion but i dont know that quantum dots thing.. deym its makin me sick.... hate that investigatory project! you know all those stuffs like stating ur problem then ur conclusions [cant even think of any problem what more on my conclusions if i dont know what im really talking about!!!!!!!!] waaaaaaaaaaaaaaah :cry: and you have to do a survey and everything.. but hey its a group work but they're counting on me.. waaah can you believe that? they're depending on me but i know nothinggggg! im sorry i said all those things hehe cant stop myself.....
  16. Aug 13, 2004 #15
    hi Locrian thanks a lot .. hey i think that electrochemistry thing sounds interesting.. coz you said i can do a lot of neat experiments that are simple and wont cost me too much.. can you give me one exmple of experiment? whew i just dont know what those stuffs are so i cant think what are related to that,what can be done, or anything.. coz my physics teacher.... aaww .. we already spent 2 months together and the only thing that he ever taught bout physics is that vector thing!! and it took 2 weeks for him to discuss all bout that.. can you believe that? i dont think vector is a complicated topic and he treats us like a kinder or something.. and then during the first half month we had trigonometry on our physics.. whew whatta...... see i still dont know anything and physics is not my .... you know.. i like more chemistry than physics.. im not even that interested in physics.. theres too many formula its pissin me off..... :(

    please help me.. i think that one sounds good....... thanks mwahugz..
  17. Aug 13, 2004 #16
    hey thanks i think that one is interesting too.. moment of inertia.. [would also be a good demonstration of random and systematic error] whats that? like trial and error something? am i right? hey can ya help me? Moment of Inertia of rolling objects down a ramp >> it's ok if thats my problem or i mean the title of my Investigatory Project? right?
  18. Aug 14, 2004 #17


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    Thankies! MWAHhuggies! :wink:
  19. Aug 14, 2004 #18
    hey everyone common dont keep me waiting... i need yer replies.... waah P-L-E-A-S-E!
  20. Aug 15, 2004 #19


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    Okay, here's one that is Electrochemistry and Physics - all rolled into one. And you can make the investigation as easy or hard as you want.

    The lemon battery ! :biggrin: Google it.
  21. Aug 15, 2004 #20
    I did that one year when I was little. Fun project, the lemon battery.
  22. Aug 16, 2004 #21
    One very simple electrochemistry based experiment is one I do in the lab for practical reasons regularly. Rust removal! We've had some VERY VERY rusty pieces of metal come through the lab. Neither scraping nor chemical treatments removed all the rust.

    To do rust removal you need:

    A low voltage power source (probably the only thing you'll have any trouble getting)
    A voltmeter (experimental tool you'll just have to have, they are only like $15)
    Baking soda
    A piece of metal (preferably aluminum)
    A little wiring
    Something rusty

    You connect the rusty item to the negative pole of the power source. 6 volts is fine, but 15 really gets things moving :) . Connect the piece of metal to the positive terminal. Put them in water - make sure they do not touch! Add baking soda, turn on the power supply, and they will begin to bubble. Depending on your voltage, the time to clean varies. When the object comes out, the side that was facing your piece of metal is completely removed of rust.

    I know there are websites out there telling how to do this as well. I will give more details if you are interested.

    There are also some reasonably easy experiments in which you plate one piece of metal with something; say coat a nickel with copper, or the like.

    To make the experiment more scientific, you would use the voltmeter to record things such as voltage and current. You could vary the amount of baking soda you add. Things of that nature.

    I'll add more detail if you are interested.
  23. Aug 17, 2004 #22
    Hey guy,

    I have been in your shoes before. I really did not care for science much in grade school, had alot of bad teachers, but thats another story. I would find something that interest you, and based on your age, I would think cars might be right up your ally. I would start by perhaps looking at different fuels used in cars, why one fuel cannot be used in a certain engine, i.e might cause 'ping' or nocking, and the science why that is. Also, you could look at why the tires of the car have different pressure ratings, why would you possibly need high pressure or low pressure tires, and what is their applications. You could also look at the use of spoilers and aerodynamics of cars. Another good thing to learn about is how the engine works. A neat project. You could get alot of good physics in there. You would have a good handel on torque, the combustion process, etc, not to mention the alternator, which creates current. There is TONS of great physics in the automobile that isint boring at all. You would have a blast doing that. If you wanted a visual display, i think monogram or revell even sells a plastic working model of an engine that sells for around 60 bucks. Its clear plastic and you can see how the engine works as you crank it. A neat visual aid in your studies. You would also impress your buds as you talk about cars and know more than which one 'looks good', but then again, isint that all that really matters in the end :-p

  24. Aug 19, 2004 #23
    hey whats lemon battery? dunt knoe that one........ can you say what that thing is..?
  25. Aug 19, 2004 #24
    rust removal? ok i think its interesting.. but can that be my investigatory project? i think its kinda difrent from my classmates coz what they got was like about pendulum, somethin bout mass, gravity, inertia etc.... i think that more of chemistry? but i do like that one.. i think thats very easy n simple.. ayt???
  26. Aug 19, 2004 #25
    aw 60 bucks.. i live here in the philippines so where would i get that one.. hey thanks but i think thats complicated..
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