Go Back   Physics Help Forum > Physics Forums > Physics

Physics Physics Forum - General Physics Discussion and Physics News

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old Feb 8th 2018, 08:17 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Australia
Posts: 7
Post Greetings all

hey guys, i recently have been issued a task at school that involves the extended experimental investigation of any topic physics related. however, finding an interesting and unique topic that includes easy to measure or record results(data) is seemingly difficult, does anyone have a suggestion for what i should perhaps investigate? the topic can be mildly complex to complex for year 12 physics students. appreciate all the help.
__________________
ddwrt123 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Feb 9th 2018, 05:27 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Glasgow
Posts: 260
Originally Posted by ddwrt123 View Post
hey guys, i recently have been issued a task at school that involves the extended experimental investigation of any topic physics related. however, finding an interesting and unique topic that includes easy to measure or record results(data) is seemingly difficult, does anyone have a suggestion for what i should perhaps investigate? the topic can be mildly complex to complex for year 12 physics students. appreciate all the help.
There's loads of stuff you could potentially do, so it can be quite overwhelming to pick a topic and then identify something cool to do with it.

I would maybe see it more like this: what kind of topics are there in physics? Within those topics, what kind of phenomena have you studied? What was fun?

So... you could break it down something like this:

1. Mechanics
2. Energy sources
3. Electricity and circuits
4. Magnetism
5. Heat transfer
6. Waves

Then, for each one, identify some stuff you have studied already, kind of like this:

1. Mechanics:
- Linear motion
- Rotational motion and moments
- Collisions (impulse and conservation of momentum)
- Air resistance
- Friction
- Kinetic energy and gravitational energy
- Gravity
- Springs and strings

2. Energy sources:
- Power generation
- Fuels and combustion
- Renewable energy sources

3. Electricity and circuits
- Static electricity
- Series and parallel circuits
- Resistance / internal resistance
- Batteries / storage technology
- Transformers
- Joule heating (wires getting hot when current flows)
- Electric motors

4. Magnetism
- Ferromagnetism
- Electromagnets
- Induction

5. Heat transfer
- Conduction
- Convection
- Radiation

6. Waves
- Transverse waves (e.g. light)
- Longitudinal waves (e.g. sound)
- Wave generators (water experiments)
- Diffraction

Then it should be much easier to think of cool stuff to do... I filled in the mechanics part for you, but you should be able to think of stuff for the other topics too...

1. Mechanics:
- Linear motion
-> Investigate different transport technologies (cars/bikes/skateboards/segways/hoverboards). Which ones are more efficient? Are they more efficient than walking or running? What about swimming and swimming techniques?
-> How do rockets, missiles and catapults work?
- Rotational motion and moments
-> Investigate flywheels or centrifuges and their advantages
-> How does the torque applied by a car engine translate to motion?
-> Bridge design... can you do a scale model of a bridge? What materials are required for certain bridges to stay stable?
-> Gyroscopes (this is difficult though...)
-> Electric motor... how does rotation affect electricity generated?
- Collisions (impulse and conservation of momentum)
-> How do the safety features of cars work, like airbags and crumple zones? Can you test similar processes by colliding every day objects together?
-> What makes something bounce better?
- Air resistance
-> what materials/designs are best for parachutes?
-> how do you streamline a vehicle to minimise air resistance (aerodynamics)?
- Friction
-> How much heat is generated by rubbing two things together? Can an efficient heater be made by a rough surface and a belt?
-> What makes for good road or domestic floor surfaces?
- Kinetic energy and gravitational energy
-> What's the best way to stop people getting hurt when falling?
-> parachutes / crash mats / pile of cardboard boxes?
-> hydroelectric power is generated by water falling through a turbine... how is the energy extracted?
-> how do traditional (waterfall) water mills work? What designs are better than others?
- Gravity
- Springs and strings
-> how does car or bike suspension work? Do the springs stretch?

With a bit if ingenuity, a lot of these topics can be investigated by building little small-scale devices from things you can find at home or in a hardware store. You can make little cars, tracks, ramps or whatever. Parachutes can be attached to clay or Plasticine and dropped from head height, electronic circuitry and magnets can be very cheap to obtain. If you know woodwork and can get some help, you can make small-scale objects to mimic large-scale ones and investigate almost anything. For example, you could make a circuit that mimics a national electricity grid by having a calculator-scale PV panel connected to a circuit with a bunch of light bulbs and a 9V battery to mimic your conventional fossil-fueled power station...

In my opinion, it's a lot more fun to do experiments in physics if you get to be a bit creative and make something interesting. There's no need to go crazy though... you'd be amazed what you can investigate with a few household items. It should be super cheap and relatively easy to get the experiment you want to do up and running.

Once you've got an idea, feel free to tell us about it because we can then advise on the kind of experiments you can do

Last edited by benit13; Feb 9th 2018 at 07:21 AM.
benit13 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Feb 9th 2018, 06:29 AM   #3
Senior Member
 
Woody's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: England
Posts: 664
When I was doing Physics at school I made the mistake of being wildly overambitious with my project.
As a result my project didn't really get anywhere and consequently my grades were poor.

One thing that might be worth considering is that a large part of physics is about constructing mathematical models of observed phenomena.
It is surprising how quickly some quite complex physics can start to be required to model seemingly simple situations.

Consider for example a bouncing ball, why does it bounce, why does it stop bouncing, etc...
__________________
~\o/~
Woody is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Feb 12th 2018, 05:51 PM   #4
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Australia
Posts: 7
Thank you all for great replies
__________________
ddwrt123 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

  Physics Help Forum > Physics Forums > Physics



Thread Tools
Display Modes



Facebook Twitter Google+ RSS Feed