Millikan Oil Drop Experiment: Determining Elementary Charge

In summary, the problem involves calculating the charge on each oil drop using the equation q = mgd/ΔV, where m is the mass of the droplet, g is the acceleration due to gravity, and d is the distance between the two charged plates. The goal is to determine the elementary charge on an electron. However, simply taking the average of the calculated charges may not accurately represent the true value, as there may be slight differences between the ΔV values for each drop. A suggested approach is to find the highest common factor among the calculated charges and take the average of the ΔV values for each group of drops.
  • #1
Sandro Romualdez

Homework Statement



Calculate the charge on each oil drop and determine the elementary charge on an electron given the following:
Voltage (Attached)
d (Distance between two charged plates) = 0.10m
m (Of the droplet) = 1.57x10^-15 kg
g = 9.8 kgm/s^2

Homework Equations


q = mg*d / ΔV

The Attempt at a Solution


I'm just confused on how I should first tackle the problem.

Should I just calculate the ΔV between each voltage, and use that in the equation to calculate the charge between each test/zap (The charge on each drop?), and then get the average charge of all using the mean formula? (Sum of q's/20)

Thanks for any help.
 

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  • #2
What would the average do for you? Say you had two calculations one of which gave 3.2×10-19 C and the other 4.8×10-19 C. The average is 4×10-19 C. Would you say that's the charge of the electron? Note that I chose the numbers so that the first drop had two extra electrons and the second drop 3 electrons. You need to think some more about this and what you should be doing.
 
  • #3
Best I can do for you is suggest you wind up with a list of numbers from which you have to find the highest common factor. Note that the data tends to group suggesting only a few actual ΔV, with only slight differences between ΔV of the same group. Those differences you might want to average for each group.

Anything more would be giving too much away.
 

Related to Millikan Oil Drop Experiment: Determining Elementary Charge

What is the Millikan Oil Drop Experiment?

The Millikan Oil Drop Experiment, also known as the Millikan's experiment, is an experiment conducted to determine the value of the elementary electric charge, represented by the symbol "e". It was performed by American physicist Robert A. Millikan in 1909.

What is the significance of the Millikan Oil Drop Experiment?

The Millikan Oil Drop Experiment is significant as it accurately determined the value of the elementary electric charge, which is a fundamental constant in physics. It also provided evidence for the quantization of electric charge, which supports the atomic theory.

How did Millikan conduct the experiment?

Millikan's experiment involved suspending tiny oil droplets in an electric field between two charged plates. By measuring the rate at which the droplets moved, he was able to calculate the charge on each droplet and determine the value of the elementary charge.

What was the value of the elementary charge determined by the Millikan Oil Drop Experiment?

The value of the elementary charge determined by Millikan's experiment was 1.60 x 10^-19 coulombs. This value is very close to the currently accepted value of 1.602 x 10^-19 coulombs.

What is the role of the Millikan Oil Drop Experiment in modern physics?

The Millikan Oil Drop Experiment played a crucial role in modern physics as it provided evidence for the quantization of electric charge and helped establish the concept of the atomic structure of matter. It also paved the way for further research in the field of subatomic particles and their properties.

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