Thursday, June 09, 2005

Going through the physics closet

Our current physics teacher is retiring and I'll be taking over. My first act was to empty the contents of the physics closet out in my classroom to see what I have to play with. Lucky for me Birch (my retiring colleague) is sticking around to help out.

It's lucky because without him I'd have no idea what some of the stuff is or what it is used for. The first unknown item is a Quincke's interference Tube. After a brief explanation I realized this could be pretty cool.

If you put the proper frequency in one end you get almost no sound out the other end due to destructive interference. Traditionally you have a student put one end up to their ear and hold the appropriate tuning fork to the other end.

I realized immediately there was a better way to do this involving the use of a function generator and an oscilloscope, as can be seen here.

I have both a function generator and o-scope, but Visual Analyzer could do this with a lot less set up. Birch and I have tried this with VA and found it works quite well, but we are not content with the current set-up. If small is good then big should be better. We are in the process of building a new apparatus out of PVC pipe and garden hose. We'll also be adding a slide to allow us to change the frequency required to reach complete destructive interference. When we finish I'll post pictures and directions.

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