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Need help identifying some physics lab equipment

  1. Aug 21, 2008 #1
    So my mom just took over for the head physics teacher at her high school and the old teacher left behind a bunch of equipment. We aren't quite sure what some of it is used for. Already sent an email to the manufacturer about it, but I thought I would post pictures of the equipment here to see if anyone can help. Thanks. Sorry if they take awhile to load up. There is a foot long ruler included in the pictures for scale.

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  3. Aug 23, 2008 #2

    Redbelly98

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    It appears that some of this stuff comes from Sargent Welch (#'s 5 & 7, at least). Can you google "Sargent Welch" and the part name/number that is imprinted on those items? Might turn up useful information.

    A few guesses for the long tube in #3:

    Part of a barometer? It's over 30 inches long, which is enough to measure atmospheric pressure with mercury. Are there any containers of mercury anywhere in the lab?

    It might also be a simple level indicator for a tank of water or other fluid.

    A longshot: it might be a flowmeter, to measure the flow rate (eg., volume per sec) of a gas or liquid passing through it. If that's the case, there should be a small ball, probably plastic, inside the tube ... if it hasn't been lost.
    But, I'd be surprised to see a flowmeter in a high school physics lab.
     
  4. Aug 23, 2008 #3

    Moonbear

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    A lot of it looks like just spare parts. If you can't find the rest of the equipment they go with (perhaps long ago discarded), it's probably trash.

    #9 looks like a motor, but with the frayed condition of the wires, probably not actually safe to use for anything anymore.

    Some of the bits and pieces could probably be kept for building new things, like using those hooks and that rod to assemble something for holding a small weight and demonstrating levers or pulleys or some such. Some of it may have never belonged to anything. I'm looking at that pair of boards with a hinge and wondering if it was simply there to demonstrate a hinge (or to clap the metal parts together to get students' attention :biggrin:).

    My suggestion, when taking over a new classroom or lab space is to put all the random spare parts into one box or cabinet. As she develops her lesson plans over the year, if they find a use, move them to places that make sense for their use (i.e., store items for a particular lesson together in one cabinet or shelf), and anything she doesn't have a use for after developing the lesson plans gets chucked if none of the other science teachers want to claim it. Every lab ends up with piles of "spare parts" that people save because it "might be useful" and it never is.
     
  5. Aug 23, 2008 #4
    That wooden stick there is called "ruler". It's used to measure distances.
     
  6. Aug 23, 2008 #5

    Chi Meson

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    I know most of these:

    1. A centrifugal effect demonstrator. To be put on a mechanical spinner. "It shows why Saturn is so bulgy around the middle." Not an important demonstration since most people already are familiar with centrifugal effect. I always though this demo reinforces the "centrifugal farce." This might also be used to demonstrate resonant frequencies in a loop.

    2. Need a close up for this one, but I think that's a thermometer sticking out the end. This might be a "Mechanical equivalent of Heat" demo. Is it full of lead pellets? Turn the tube end over end repeatedly and watch the work turn into a rise in temperature. If that's what it is, it's worth keeping.

    3. This is called "Kundt's Tube." It demonstrates resonance in closed end pipes. You put a layer of cork dust or lycopodium in the tube, get a real loud noise to resonate, and the dust is pulled into the antinodal areas. If you can get a Shop Vac, use it to blow across the end of the tube (like across a bottle as a "flute") and get some high-pitched resonance. Also wakes up the sleepers.

    3b. This is a stroboscope. "Light chopper" is another word. Hold an eye to the rim as the disk is spun and you can see things stroboscopically. (Is that a word?) Always disappointed by these things. Get a real strobe light.

    4. Not sure, I think this demonstrates how friction will heat up the wood. One piece is held steady while the other is spun rapidly somehow. I just use a wood dowel stuck in a drill on a 2x4.

    5. Ampere's Law demo. Put a 1--3 amp current through the wire and place compasses around the vertical part to show the magnetic field in a circle. Put compass above and below the horizontal part to show the switch in direction.

    6. Dunno but it looks like it would make a loud sound.

    7. Those are adjustable bridges for a "resonance in strings" demonstrator often called a "Sonometer." That string there is for the same apparatus. Not a great demo (A regular guitar is much better), and a rather laborious class experiment. If there are a lot of them, then they can be used as a "Hands-on demo" to see what happens when strings are tightened and/or shortened.

    8. This is a "Fire Piston." One of my favorite demos. Put a tiny piece of cotton fluff in the chamber, slam the piston down, and watch the fluff ignite in a ball of fire! Very cool.

    9 & 10, I dunno. 9 might be an electromagnet if it is not a motor. Try putting a current through it see what happens. 10 might be a flywheel. Might go with the same spinner as #1.

    11 Bits and pieces from various things. There is a "collar hook" used to hang things from a cross-bar, there is a 20 gram mass from an old mass set, there is thing that used to hold a pulley, but the pulley's gone. Keep the collar hook.

    12. Some parts to an old thermal expansion experiment. Not worth keeping.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2008
  7. Aug 23, 2008 #6

    lisab

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    Chi, you rock.
     
  8. Aug 23, 2008 #7

    lisab

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    :rofl:
     
  9. Aug 24, 2008 #8

    Chi Meson

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    It's true! I do rock.

    I have to change my opinion on #2. Since the large tube is made of copper, it cannot be a "Mechanical Equivalent of Heat" demo, since the point of the experiment is to conserve the heat generated from the falling pellets. This means the tube would be made of insulating material, not copper.

    I really need a close-up to see what the scale that sticks out the end is measuring. Most of these items seem to be thermo or sound demos. The copper suggests something thermo. What's that black stumpy thing at one end? IS that a closable window at the same end? I dunno I dunno... I don't appear to be rocking right now...:sad:
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2008
  10. Aug 30, 2008 #9
    thanks so much everyone, especially Chi!

    #2 looks like a giant tire gauge, the ruler slides out of the copper tube, but I'm not sure how it would be employed
     
  11. Aug 30, 2008 #10

    Chi Meson

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    My pleasure! #2 might be a demo for "isochoric" heating of an ideal gas; direct proportionality between temperature and pressure for an isolated gas. I think that's "Gay-Lusacs" law or something. (I have made a point of not making that distinction. Chemistry folks seem to think that "Charles' Law," Boyle's Law" and "G-L's Law" are different and deserve to be distinguished from each other--We in Physics know it's just "The Ideal Gas Law")

    Also, it appears that the fire piston is missing the rubber o-rings on the plunger. It won't work without a proper seal.
     
  12. Sep 21, 2008 #11
    1. Spring steel elastic collision hoop. Probably for either affixing to a cart or to a barrier to demonstrate elastic collisions. EDIT: I see already mentioned it is a "bulgy planet" simulator...more likely than my guess.

    3. Partial siren? Spin slitted disk with slits near end of tube, vary tube volume to vary pitch?

    5. What is the Sargent Welch number?

    6. Mechanical/heat energy demonstrator. Put thin paper between metal 'clappers' and slam shut. Will char a hole in the paper.

    8. Fire syringe. Put thin bits of fluff in tube, slam plunger down--bits of fluff ignite and flash in a darkened room.
     
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