Lab projects-I

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Physics studio

In 2014, we are launching the Physics Studio. This a new platform for undergraduate students undertaking the Lab 1 course (PHY 200). The idea of the studio is to allow you to design and initiate new lab projects, all based on basic physics. This will help unleash your inner creativity!

How does the Physics Studio work? The participants will present an idea of their own or simply choose from the ones given below. Participants, while working in pairs on each project, will be expected to run through the complete cycle of: (a) developing the idea, (b) designing, building and assembling the equipment, (c) performing the experiment and (d) presenting their work. The projects will culminate in the form of an exhibition that will be open to the SSE at large.

What seems exciting is that the best experiments can be integrated into the Lab 1 course in subsequent years with you authoring the lab manuals. We've also seen that many a time, these lab projects will evolve into more exciting and challenging endevaours, and sometimes new research directions open up.

Here are some matters you might be interested in knowing about.

  • The ideas and physics involved behind the experiments will be of a basic level, and largely an extension or supplement to existing experiments in PHY 200.
  • The participating students will be fully assisted by the Lab Instructors and Dr. Sabieh Anwar. They will be fully provided with all the resources possible.
  • Students will work in pairs.
  • A select number of students will be invited to participate in the Studio project while others will volunteer.
  • The studio will start from the week of 23 November and will continue till the end of the semester. This is a total duration of three weeks.
  • Students taking part in these projects will not be required to take part in Lab 1 experiments and will be graded with regards to their performance in these projects.
  • Students will be given access to the laboratory from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm for a period of three weeks.

If you are interested, please click here for registration. The deadline to register is Wednesday, 19 November, 5 pm. Decisions about selected students will be communicated by Friday, 21 November 11 am.

  • Idea Experiments. These are food for thought ideas - they will help you design your experiments. Best of luck.

Sample Available Projects

Finding Planck's constant using a laser diode (6.1)

This project will utilize an inexpensive laser pen (laser diode). The goal is to find the Planck's constant through the threshold values of spontaneous emission, laser ouptput power and polarization of the light.

Properties of light bulb (6.2)

The I-V characteristics of light emitting devices can be studies through measuring the voltage (V) across the device and the current (I). The variation of power radiated through the bulb as a function of current and voltage gives some important information.

Ferromagnetic phase transitions (6.3)

The experiment is about the determination of the Curie point of a ferromagnetic alloy. Electrical energy is supplied to the kanthal wire which is being utilized to raise its temperature and some part is radiated away. As the alloy heats up, a point reaches where the alloy loses its magnetism and snaps away from the magnet. The Curie temperature is then determined using the energy-balance equation.

Pressure and height properties of water (6.4)

This experiment establishes a relationship between the pressure exerted by a fluid above a point in a cylinder of water and the height of water above that point. The acceleration due to gravity can be determined through the measurement of pressure and height.

Measuring the speed of light (6.5)

A He-Ne laser with modulated amplitude can be used as source of measuring the speed of light. The laser beam transverses a distance towards the sensor and the speed of light can be measured through the information of phase difference and distance travelled by the light.

Emptying of a cylinder of water by the siphon effect (6.6)

This experiment demonstrates the flow of water through siphon action. Experimental verification the Poiseuille’s law can be done through the measurement of the flow velocity and viscosity of water. Further, it provides a practical understanding about flow of the liquids with or without any external applied force.

Colliding Pucks on a Carrom Board (6.7)

This experiment is about the conservation of angular momentum through the collision of two pucks on a carrom board using video motion analysis. It also demonstrates that the law of conservation of momentum holds in random 2-D collisions and determine the type of collision through quantitative analysis.

Magnetic braking and damping (6.8)

This experiment is a direct quantification of Faraday’s law. An oscillating system having a bar magnet at the end attached and passes through the coil continuously generates electromotive force. Electromagnetic damping can be introduces by shortening of the coil that leads to the linear decay of the oscillation amplitude.

Magnetic oscilator(6.9)

The experiment is a quantitative investigation of magnetism. A magnet in a uniform magnetic field can be made to oscillate about the field. The frequency of oscillation depends on the magnetic moment, external field, and the moment of inertia of the magnet. Two repelling magnets can be used to determine the magnetic moment and the external field can be determined.

Spatial variations of the index of refraction through shadowgraph (6.10)

Shadowgraph techniques are utilized to determine the spatial variations of the refreactive index of air. The idea is to heat a horizontal cylinder at different temperatures and using the geometry and symmetry information, the shadowgraph technique being implemented.

Spring catapult and Projectile Motion (6.11)

By varying the initial speed and the launch angle of a projectile, we can change its trajectory. The objective of this project is to develop an apparatus to observe the trajectory of a projectile by recording a slow motion video of it, after it is launched using a spring catapult. Force applied on the projectile depends on the extension of the spring, and once that is known, the trajectory of the projectile can be used to calculate the value of gravitational acceleration ‘g’.

Measuring the Speed of Sound using a Computer’s soundcard (6.12)

A computer soundcard equipped with a microphone input is one kind of a data acquisition tool. Audio is played and recorded using two channels (LEFT and RIGHT). This means the soundcard can accommodate two mono microphones—one on each channel. Detection of sound with two microphones placed at different distances from the source would result in a time difference that depends on the distance between them. Using this delay, we can calculate the speed of sound.
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