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Homework Help: Motion experiment ideas?

  1. Mar 2, 2009 #1
    Motion experiment ideas??

    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Okay, this is my first post, so I'm not sure if this is in the right section or anything...but i didn't want to run the risk of it getting deleted as it's kind of a homework question.
    I have to design and complete an experiment on motion for a SAC for my year 12 class ((I'm in australia..so it's probably called something different in America so sorry for the confusion))

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution
    Anyway so I'm not sure what to do... I want to do something interesting and something where I'll get good results...like nothing way too complicated where I'll get results that don't end up working or don't achieve what i set out to do... I was thinking about maybe using an air trough/track and doing an experiment on momentum/analysing collisions with a data logger...or maybe circular motion (not sure how to go about doing that though)...or something...So does any one have any ideas?
    Once again, sorry if this is posted in the wrong section.
    Thanks :)
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 5, 2009 #2
    Re: Motion experiment ideas??

    Hi Atlaπtis. Welcome to PF!

    I once did any experiment with an air track and I had to see if different shaped sails made a difference to a 'boats' propulsion. I attached weights to one end and found the distance the 'boat' would travel and plotted it again mass for each. I had some problems with it but that's good for experiments as it forces you to find solution (which can all be written about).

    Collisons sounds good as well but what would you do with the circular motion?

    The Bob
  4. Mar 5, 2009 #3
    Re: Motion experiment ideas??

    Some ideas?

    1.) Friction. Measure coefficients of static friction and see what factors they depend on. Possibilities include surface area, various lubricants, temperature, etc. Or you can measure coefficients of kinetic friction using the same methodology. You can get as advanced as you want with it, making very accurate position measurements and trying to come up with an experimental function of various parameters. That could make an interesting project...

    2.) If you have access to a pool / billiards table, you can do some statistical physics experiments involving motion. Scatter the balls over the table (put them in a bag, and then empty them forcefully so they distribute nicely). Then, using a ramp or something, have the cue ball enter the system on some constant trajectory, and measure any of a number of things: how many balls are touched by the cue ball, how many balls move at all, where the cue ball ends up, how many balls go in the pockets, etc. That could be cool... I bet you would get an interesting distribution. If not, you can say it's completely random. If so, you can explain it theoretically (or try to).

    3.) Air resistance. Get a small, heavy ball - like a marble or something - and, using careful and accurate measurement techniques, measure the time required to fall various distances in various substances (air, water, alcohol, maple syrup, etc). Try to come up with functions which describe it accurately. Come up with coefficients. See if air behaves in the same way as a liquid, only with a different coefficient. Try exotic mixtures of things... salt water, sugar water, vinegar, jello, etc). Who knows?

    Just some ideas... don't know how interesting / feasible they would be.
  5. Mar 5, 2009 #4
    Re: Motion experiment ideas??

    Thanks for your ideas, i've ended up going with the collisions idea....as you said The Bob what would i do with the circular motion? didn't really seem like it was going to go far apart from some attemp at constructing a motorised swinging ball that would probably cause a lot of problems later lol
    So thanks guys :)
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