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Sixth Form Physics Investigations

Sixth Form Physics Investigations
The students hard at work in the laboratory.
Tuesday 2nd July 2013 by C. Freeman

Plotting the trajectory of a golf ball, measuring airflow through a propeller and calculating engine torque were just a few of the experiments carried out by our Year 12 physics students.

They designed their own investigation, then spent three days perfecting their experiments and gathering data for a report on the process. Head of Physics Mr Swallow said: ‘They have designed their own experiments and they are improving them as they go along, making lots of modifications. It is thinking on the spot, asking for advice and seeking help when they need it.

‘We have lots of people measuring the strength of electromagnets and how various factors affect them. We have people trying to find the viscosity of liquids, trying to model various things, such as the effect of a golf club hitting a ball, finding the torque of engines, radioactivity, wind turbines, the breaking strength of string and the effect of friction on various things. They have to write a up a full report including their results and graphical analysis which is what they have found out and proven.They are all very focused and because it is their own design they want their experiments to succeed.’

Ben Findlay was simulating the swing of a golf club to see how the angle and force it was dropped with affected the trajectory of a golf ball. He said: ‘. I have got a protractor attached to it to vary the swing and a bolt on the bottom to attach extra weights. I am doing eight different angles at three different weights and I am repeating each five times, so there will be 120 readings so hopefully I will obtain a good set of results.’

Corey Clarke measured the surface tension of water. He floated a wire on top of water, then added pins to weigh down a counterbalance to see how much weight was needed to lift it from the water. He said: ‘The surface tension should be the same for each length of wire and I am studying it with a change in temperature as well to see if that makes a difference; the surface tension should increase with a rise in temperature.’

Dave McInnes ran a model Dynakar down a ramp and by varying the angle of the ramp he had different readings which were automatically calculated by a sensor and sent to his laptop.

Jacob Guthrie constructed a wooden propeller to measure its efficiency and how altering the angle or surface area of the blades affected the flow of air. He connected the propeller to an electric drill to ensure a constant airflow and measured the results with an anemometer: ‘In my spare time I go out in a powered glider so I am interested in aerodynamics and it is also fun working with power tools!’

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Copyright © 2007 - 2018, Brooke Weston Academy. All rights reserved.
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