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Physics Project

  1. Mar 7, 2012 #1
    Hello, I am in Grade 12 physics class and I have been given a open ended project; where we are required to build/create a machine which would involve at least 6 of the physics concepts:

    ramps, pulleys, levers, transfer of momentum/energy, projectile motion, circular motion, stored elastic energy in a spring or like, harmonic motion, pendulums, impulse, inelastic or elastic
    collisions, electricity, magnetism, light, photocells.

    We can talk to our teacher and add anything else if it follows grade 12 curriculum.

    Unit 1 Kinematics
    Unit 2 Dynamics
    Unit 3 WEM
    Unit 4 GEM fields
    Unit 5 Modern Physics
    Unit 5 Light

    I was first thinking of a rube goldberg machine but it would be too time consuming and hard to setup... as anyone in the class should be able to perform the machine.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 7, 2012 #2


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    Just keep it simple is my best suggestion. It could be as simple as setting up a ball to roll down a ramp into another ball. You can add things like levers or pulleys or whatever to release the ball. What do you WANT to build? This is your project after all.
  4. Mar 7, 2012 #3
    well i was thinking of building a catapult but that is just transfer of energy. projectile and levers.
  5. Mar 7, 2012 #4
    pulley - circular motion - stored elastic energy in a spring or like - lever - transfer of momentum/energy - projectile motion - inelastic or elastic collision ... hmm reminds me of something :)
  6. Mar 7, 2012 #5


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    Are you sure? I see at least 1-2 more physics concepts from your list that can apply. What will cause the catapult to launch?
  7. Mar 7, 2012 #6
  8. Mar 7, 2012 #7
    a lever would launch the catapult, i was thinking maybe i can pull the lever by using a pulley and a mass?
  9. Mar 7, 2012 #8


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    Sure, that is an option. Can you think of anything to add to the catapult that would be one of the other physics concepts?
  10. Mar 7, 2012 #9
    a spring?
  11. Mar 7, 2012 #10
    I think your first idea was a good one--a Rube Goldberg device doesn't necessarily have to be huge or complicated, and it has the added bonus of allowing you to demonstrate each of those principles separately.

    For instance, you could start off with a miniature car on a track that begins a couple of feet above the table. You could start it moving forward with a spring-loaded mechanism (like a pinball plunger), then have it twirl downward along the track. Then you could have it crash into something, perhaps roll into a bay at the end which puts it back at the top again via a lift. That would easily cover the requirements.

    Sounds like fun, actually :)
  12. Mar 7, 2012 #11
    what type of concepts would it implement?

    I can see springs, ramps, circular motion, pulleys, transfer of energy...
  13. Mar 7, 2012 #12


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    Sure, you could use a spring. I'd say you pretty much have most of your project's concepts figured out. If you can add another concept to it then you'll be good.
  14. Mar 7, 2012 #13
    From what I wrote, that is a pretty good inventory. Getting one or two more in there wouldn't be too much of a problem--for instance, you could use a latch to hold back the pinball plunger/spring device that launches the car, then lift it with a lever. Lighting tricks would be easy--maybe you could have the track go partially under a body of water, to show refraction. There are tons of ideas--about half of your project is how you present it, because you could turn in a stick and argue for a bunch of the forces already (light, electrical forces holding the stick together, the earth rotating through space, etc.)
  15. Mar 7, 2012 #14
    i was just wondering umm would the car have enough energy to hit the lever so the pulley can operate with the electric motor...?
  16. Mar 8, 2012 #15
    I have attached a preliminary sketch of the project but my questions is would the electromagnet be able to attract the metal ball in motion?


    This would include:

    Circular Motion
    Light (Refraction)
    Transfer of Energy
  17. Mar 23, 2012 #16
    I wanted to know if copper wire is the best for coil and for a core wire hangers.

    9v would be sufficient?
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