Brief Description of Experiments

This listing includes a brief description of the "free choice" experiments along with the number of weights assigned to each experiment.

EXPLANATION OF NOTATION: The numbers in square brackets following these term indicators, e.g., [1 wt], [2 wt]  indicate the number of weights credited to the experiment. A one weight experiment requires one lab session (3 hours) to complete; a two weight experiment requires two lab sessions (6 hours). 

The guide sheets for all of these experiments, (in pdf format) can be viewed and downloaded by returning to the Experiments page and clicking on the links in the table there.

(M) Mechanics and Mechanical Systems

Conservation of Angular Momentum: A series of rings and cylinders are dropped onto a rotating disc and comparisons of the angular momenta before and after the "collisions" are made using a computer interfaced rotational motion sensor. [1 wt]

Free Fall: Measurement of g by determining the distance a body falls in a measured time. [1 wt]

The Gyroscope: A study of this fascinating instrument, in which angular momentum, torque, precession, nutation, etc., can be measured. [1-2 wt]

The Mechanical Equivalent of Heat: Joule's classic experiment. [1wt]

Mechanical Oscillations - Resonance and Ringing in  a Tuning Fork: An investigation of vibrations in a tuning fork subject to damping, using a storage oscilloscope. [1 wt]

Moment of Inertia: The moments of inertia of various objects are determined by applying varying torques to the objects and measuring the corresponding angular accelerations using a computer interfaced angular motion sensor. [1 wt]

Oscillations of a Sphere on a Concave Surface: Measurement of the radius of curvature of a concave surface using a simple harmonic motion system. [1 wt]

The Torsion Pendulum: Measurement of the torsional constant of a wire and the moment of inertia of various solids. [1 wt]

Wilberforce Pendulum: A fascinating study of mechanical resonance between two types of simple harmonic motion. [1-2 wt]

(PM) Properties of Matter

Similarity: The study of the motion of solids in viscous fluids in both laminar and turbulent regimes. Emphasis is placed on considerations involving the changing of scales of the physical quantities. [2 wt]

Surface Tension: Measurement of the surface tension of a number of liquids. Temperature dependence may be studied. [1 wt]

Vapour Pressure of Water: The vapour pressure of water between 300 K and 373 K is studied. An ingenious experiment with several subtleties. [1 wt]

Viscosity of Water by Capillary Flow: Measurement of the coefficient of viscosity of a fluid. [1 wt]


(W) Wave Phenomena

The Acoustic Interferometer: Study of the interference of sound waves using a classic Michelson-type interferometer. Measures the velocity of sound in air. [1 wt]

Electron Diffraction: Diffraction patterns of pyrolitic graphite and poly-crystalline aluminum can be observed and photographed for measurement; lattice constants may be determined. Required background material may be unfamiliar to you. Preparation is essential. [1 wt]

Microwave Optics: Wave effects observed using microwaves with a wavelength of 3 cm. A fairly qualitative experiment. [1-2wt]

Physics of Sound: The physics of sound, music and sound reproduction are investigated. Topics investigated include decibels, beats, amplitude and frequency modulation, Fourier analysis and synthesis, loudspeaker dispersion, impedance, resonance and frequency response. [1-2wt]

Waves - Steady or Pulsed, Standing or Travelling: An introduction to wave phenomena. Standing and travelling waves are investigated in a torsional wave apparatus, using the aid of your eyes, your hands, an oscilloscope and a signal generator. [1 wt]

(AN) Atomic and Nuclear Physics

Radioactivity in the Air: A sample of some hundreds of litres of Toronto air is filtered, and the radioactivity collected in the filter is studied. [2 wt]

Scattering: A model of a two-dimensional scattering process. The experiment simulates the scattering of a beam of particles from a fixed target. [1-2 wt]

X-Ray and Gamma-Ray Absorption in Matter: The radiation-absorption properties of various materials, at various X-ray or gamma-ray energies, are studied. This experiment illustrates the physical basis of radiology and radiation protection. [1 wt]

(F) Fundamental Constants

The Cavendish Experiment: The classic experiment to measure the Universal Gravitational Constant. [2 wt]