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The Flow of Electricity

This experiment investigates the parameters that affect the flow of electricity. Initial measurements enable comparison of resistance through various pathways involving current flow from hand to hand, across the chest. Then separate investigations test variation of electrical resistance with material properties – charge carriers – and variation with geometrical shape of pieces of a particular material (ie: as resistivity is kept constant). The experiment provides opportunity to apply Ohm’s law in practical situations, in order to better understand the basic principles of electrical safety. From the experiment students should conclude how best to reduce (by insulation) the risks of electrical hazards.

The Flow of Electricity – Experiment Overview (PDF)

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Coefficients of friction

Friction plays an important role in many technical devices and surfaces. It is, thus important for students of physics and engineering to be aware of the different types of friction forces, such as static friction, kinetic friction, rolling friction and fluid resistance. This experiment deals with kinetic friction between two surfaces and how it can be measured in the laboratory. It provides by means of a rather simple experiment a link between the theoretical aspects of friction which are developed in lectures and a hands-on experiment to show how friction can be measured in a laboratory situation. The experiment also provides students with an introduction to statistical techniques used to describe the results of experiments.

Coefficients of friction – Experiment Overview (PDF)

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Terminal Velocity

This experiment serves as an extension to the Mechanics module undertaken in lectures by first year students in the Regular physics stream. Students drop paper gliders (1, 2, 4, 8 and 16 stacked muffin cases) from a height of approximately 2 metres, and using a motion detector, measure the distance fallen, the velocity and acceleration during the fall. Students then determine the terminal velocities of each stack, and analyse and graph, using log-log paper the motions of the glider stacks.

Terminal Velocity – Experiment Overview (PDF)

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Lenses

This experiment serves as the sole exposure to optics for physics students in first year. There are different versions of this experiment for the three first year streams – Fundamentals, Regular and Advanced. This is the version used for Fundamentals students, who have not studied physics in year 12, or those who have obtained poor results (<65) in year 12 secondary school physics.

Lenses – Experiment Overview (PDF)

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Introduction to the Digital Storage Oscilloscope

This experiment serves as an introduction to the Digital Storage Oscilloscope (DSO), which is the modern version of the cathode ray oscilloscope (CRO). DSOs are standard instruments in any physics lab, and familiarity with it is an essential part of a physicist’s training. The experiment introduces the students to the DSO through careful explanations of its various features, technical details and functions, before two simple tasks are given to the students to allow them to interact with the DSO and use it to make simple measurements and calculations, which require that the students have reached a certain level of understanding of the instrument.

Introduction to the Digital Storage Oscilloscope – Experiment Overview (PDF)

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Electromagnetic Induction and Transformers

To examine and observe the magnetic field in a solenoid and the consequent coupling of a time varying electromagnetic field between primary and secondary coils of a transformer. Section 1 of your paper will be based on the responses to the headings below. However, it may be appropriate in the paper for you to re-arrange or omit some of this information.

Electromagnetic Induction and Transformers – Experiment Overview (PDF)

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Thin Lens Experiment

This experiment is used in teaching our Physics for Life and Earth Sciences course which is an algebra based physics course for non-physics majors. We believe that this is experiment exposes the students to the important concepts such a ray tracing and image formation.

Thin Lens Experiment – Experiment Overview (PDF)

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Conservation of Energy

The law of Conservation of energy is proved in this practical where Gravitational Potential Energy is transformed into Kinetic Energy. A metal ball is suspended as a pendulum, as the pendulum swings it is released at the lowest point of the swing where it will only have horizontal motion. By measuring the subsequent vertical and horizontal distances the metal ball travels after the release point the velocity and hence the Kinetic Energy of the ball at the point of release can be determined. The Gravitational Potential Energy that the ball has lost before the release is proportional to the height difference between its initial position and the release point. Hence students are able to determine the decrease in Gravitational Potential Energy which is equal to the Kinetic Energy at the point of release.

Conservation of Energy – Experiment Overview (PDF)

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