Physics 11 Projects

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Remember: Wikipedia is a GREAT place to start research, but a terrible place to end it!

 


The deadline for the annotated bibliography is Thursday, May 22, 2014.  NOTE:  annotated bibliographies will not be accepted with the project.  This must be completed prior to project submission.

 

The deadline for the project is Thursday, May 29, 2014.


 

Research-Based Essay Project Topics:

 

Below you will find several descriptions of possible topics for the research essay.  Students are free to choose any topic from this list or may choose their own project.  Feel free to discuss your ideas with Mr. Jennings prior to commencement of your this type of project.


The Hubble Space Telescope

Investigate the research being done with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST).  Your investigation should include (a) a description of its components and how it works (i.e. the optics of its telescope and cameras), (b) the findings from various studies that use the telescope and (c) the future of space telescopes, namely the James Webb Space Telescope, and how they will improve on HST.

Resources:


Relativity

Investigate Einstein’s theories of special and general relativity.  In particular, research (a) how these theories are vital in the correct functioning of the Global Positioning System (GPS) and (b) the possibility of using wormholes to achieve ‘faster-than-light’ travel.


 The Higgs Boson

Research the recently-confirmed discovery of the Higgs Boson and its implications for the Standard Particle Model.  How does its discovery change this model?  Does it lead scientists to a greater understanding of the Grand Unification Theory?  What does this particle have to do with why objects have mass?  Why or why not?  This essay should contain an explanation of the Standard Particle Model and how the Higgs Boson adds to it.

Resources:


Astronomical Spectroscopy

What do we learn from spectroscopy in astronomy? Discuss the history of astronomical spectroscopy and of its applications. You should include a discussion of spectroscopy at other wavelengths besides the optical window.

Suggested References (non-exhaustive):


Echolocation

Study and report on the theory of echolocation in dolphins.  Do other animals use a similar method?  Predict a possible evolutionary path of the human species in which echolocation is employed.  How would humans utilize this characteristic?

Resources:


Black Holes

In June 1990 Stephen Hawking conceded a bet (made in 1974) with Kip Thorne. He agreed that the Cygnus X-1 system contained a black hole. For over 200 years since John Michell described "dark stars" (stars massive enough to stop even light escaping from their surfaces), black holes had been an astronomical enigma. They now are accepted components of our Universe. This project requires a qualitative description of black hole properties and their increased importance in 20th century astrophysics, as well as noting methods in determining their inferred properties from indirect observations.

Resources:


Cosmology

 

Outline the characteristics of the Big Bang theory of the formation of the Universe.  How is it different that the Steady State theory?  What observational evidence leads astronomers to believe that the Big Bang theory is the most appropriate theory?  What are some possible fates of the Universe?  The 'geometry' or 'shape' of the Universe should be discussed in your essay.

Resources:


 Gravity

Research the historical development of the concept of gravitational force.  Find out how scientists’ ideas about gravity have changed over time.  Identify the contributions of different scientists, such as Galileo, Kepler, Newton and Einstein.  How did each scientist’s work build on the work of earlier scientists?  Analyze, review, and critique the different scientific explanations of gravity.  Focus on each scientist’s hypotheses and theories.  What are their strengths? What are their weaknesses?  What do scientists think about gravity now?  Use scientific evidence and other information to support your answers.

Resources:


Choose Your Own Topic

If there is a topic in physics that is not on this list, but you would like to research, consult Mr. Jennings in order to develop a good project description (i.e. thesis) and a list of appropriate references and a list of appropriate references.


 

Exploratory-Based Project Topics:

 

Below you will find several descriptions of possible exploratory-based projects.  These were adapted from Science Buddies .  Students are free to choose any project from this site provided that it is a) physics-related & b) at an "intermediate" or "advanced" level.  Feel free to discuss your ideas with Mr. Jennings prior to commencement of your this type of project.


Catapult                Read "The Art of the Catapult" by William Gurstelle    PDF

Research various designs for catapults (see Mr. Jennings for a good book on catapults).  Choose one design and build a functioning replica.  Use your catapult to test for the optimal angle for launching projectiles.  Submit a research project that outlines the theory and historical research into projectile motion, your observations and analysis and concluding remarks.


The Science of Spin: A Baseball Pendulum

For this project, you'll use a baseball as a pendulum weight, studying the motion of the ball with and without spin. Wrap a rubber band around the ball, and tie a string to the rubber band. Fasten the string so that the ball hangs down and can swing freely. Mark a regular grid on cardboard, and place it directly beneath the ball to measure the motion. You can also time the oscillations with a stopwatch. Lift the ball along one of the grid axes, and let it go. Observe the motion and record your results. Next, twist the string 50–100 times, and again lift the ball along one of the grid lines and let it go. How does spinning change the motion of the pendulum? Try changing the orientation of the seams of the ball: is the pendulum motion affected? What happens if you wind the string in the opposite direction? Can your results help you explain how a pitcher throws a curve ball?

 

Resources:

·        Adair, Robert K. The Physics of Baseball: Third Edition, Revised, Updated and Expanded. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2002.

·        Goodstein, Madeline. Sports Science Projects: The Physics of Balls in Motion. Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers, 1999

 


Physics 11 CSI: Can You Predict the Spatter?        WORD        PDF

There is evidence to be gathered at every crime scene. The hard part is making sense of it all. That's where crime scene investigators and forensic scientists come in. In this project, you will simulate a crime scene using fake blood, and predict where the blood-shedding event occurred, using blood-spatter analysis.

 

Resources:

·        Layton, J. (2005, December 2). How Crime Scene Investigation Works. Retrieved December 8, 2008, from http://science.howstuffworks.com/csi.htm

·        Wikipedia Contributors. (2008, December 11). Bloodstain pattern analysis. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved December 11, 2008, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Bloodstain_pattern_analysis&oldid=257174876

·        The following website is a bloodstain spatter analysis tutorial. There are some images of blood stains on this site. If you are squeamish, then do not look at this site.

·        Forensicnursing.org. (n.d.). A Bloody Mess. Retrieved March 14, 2012, from http://www.forensicnursing.org/forensic-analysis/

·        You can take a look at this website for more simulated blood recipes:

·        Australian School Innovation in Science, Technology, and Mathematics. (n.d.). Blood Spatter: Fake Blood Recipes. Retrieved December 19, 2008, from http://www.clt.uwa.edu.au/__data/page/112508/fsb06.pdf

·        This project is based on the following PBS DragonflyTV episode:

·        TPT. (2006). Forensics by Kalia and Carolyn. DragonflyTV, Twin Cities Public Television. Retrieved December 11, 2008 from http://pbskids.org/dragonflytv/show/forensics.html

·        If you need help understanding trigonometry, examine the the source listed below. You can also ask your math teacher for help and for more sources.

·        Honlyn Limited. (2004). Basic Trigonometry. Retrieved February 11, 2009, from http://www.trigonometry-help.net/basictrigonometry.php

 


On the Rebound: The Height Limits and Linearity of Bouncy Balls

You might think that plants and animals have little in common with batteries, springs, or slingshots, but they actually do have something in common. Both living and non-living things store and transfer energy, from one form to another. In this project, you'll investigate this energy storage and transfer, not in a plant or animal, but in bouncy balls. You'll find out if there are limits on how much energy can be stored and if there are losses when the energy is transferred. The objective is to determine the rebound height limits and evaluate the relationship between the dropped height and the rebound height of dropped bouncy balls.

 

Resources:

This source provides a discussion of work, energy, and power:

·        Nave, C. R. (2005). Work, Energy, and Power. Retrieved December 1, 2008, from http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/work.html

This source provides a discussion of elastic potential energy:

·        Henderson, T. (2007). Potential Energy. Retrieved December 2, 2008, from The Physics Classroom Tutorial, hosted by Glenbrook High School in Illinois:http://www.glenbrook.k12.il.us/gbssci/phys/Class/energy/u5l1b.html

This source provides a discussion of the energy transfers that occur in dropped bouncy balls:

·        France, C. (2008). Energy Transfer. Retrieved December 2, 2008, from http://www.gcsescience.com/pen30-energy-ball-bounce.htm

 


Measuring Sugar Content of a Liquid with a Laser Pointer

Did you know that you can figure out how much sugar is in a liquid without ever tasting it? In this science fair project, you will learn how to measure the concentration of sugar dissolved in a liquid by using a laser pointer, a hollow prism, and some physics. You will discover how refraction, or the bending of light, is the key to measuring the sugar content of a liquid with a laser pointer. The objective is to determine the sugar concentration of a liquid you can see through, like water or fruit juice, by measuring the solution's index of refraction.

 

Resources:

A simple summary of Snell's Law (the "plug in the numbers and calculate" version required for this project):

·        Kaiser, P. (2005). "Snell's Law," The Joy of Visual Perception. Retrieved July 13, 2012, from http://www.yorku.ca/eye/snell.htm.

A fairly comprehensive tutorial that builds an intuitive understanding of Snell's Law using high school-level math:

·        Henderson, T. (2004). "The Mathematics of Refraction, Snell's Law," The Physics Classroom. Retrieved July 13, 2012, from http://www.physicsclassroom.com/Class/refrn/U14L2b.cfm.

This reference discusses prisms and the angle of minimum deviation:

·        Nave, R. 2010. "Prisms," Hyperphysics. Retrieved August 293, 2012, from http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/geoopt/prism.html.

 


Roller Coaster Marbles: Converting Potential Energy to Kinetic Energy

If you'd like to investigate the physics of amusement park rides, then this project is for you. You'll build a roller coaster track for marbles using foam pipe insulation and masking tape, and see how much the marble's potential energy at the beginning of the track is converted to kinetic energy at various points along the track. The goal of this project is to build a roller coaster for marbles using foam pipe insulation and to investigate how much of the gravitational potential energy of a marble at the starting point is converted to the kinetic energy of the marble at various points along the track.

 

Resources:

·        Here's a good webpage on kinetic and potential energy applied to roller coasters:
Merritt, T., M. Lee and B. Colloran, 1996. "The Physics of Amusement Parks: Kinetic and Potential Energy," ThinkQuest Library [accessed August 23, 2007]
http://library.thinkquest.org/2745/data/ke.htm.

·        This short animation explains kinetic energy and potential energy:
Brain POP, date unknown. "Kinetic Energy," Brain POP® Animated Educational Site for Kids [accessed August 23, 2007]
http://www.brainpop.com/science/energy/kineticenergy/.

Here are some more quantitative explanations of kinetic and potential energy:

·        Henderson, T., 2004. "Work, Energy, and Power," The Physics Classroom and Mathsoft Engineering & Education, Inc. [accessed August 23, 2007] http://www.physicsclassroom.com/Class/energy/u5l1c.html.

·        Nave, C.R., 2001a. "Kinetic Energy," HyperPhysics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Georgia State University [accessed August 23, 2007] http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/ke.html.

·        Nave, C.R., 2001b. "Potential Energy," HyperPhysics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Georgia State University [accessed August 23, 2007] http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/pegrav.html#pe.

 


Distance and Speed of Rolling Objects Measured from Video Recordings      

This project is an experiment in classical physics. You'll be following in Galileo's footsteps, and investigating Newton's laws of motion, but you'll be taking advantage of modern video recording technology to make your measurements. Sure, it's been done before, but if you do it yourself, you can get a firm understanding of these important concepts. The objective of this project is to determine the relation between elapsed time and distance traveled when a moving object is under constant acceleration.

 

Resources:

 

For background information on inclined planes, see these references:

·        Wikipedia contributors, 2006. "Inclined Plane," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia [accessed September 25, 2006] http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Inclined_plane&oldid=79997799.

·        Henderson, T., 2004. "Inclined Planes," The Physics Classroom, Glenbrook South High School, Glenview, IL [accessed September 25, 2006] http://www.glenbrook.k12.il.us/gbssci/Phys/Class/vectors/u3l3e.html.

·        Duffy, A. "Inclined Plane," Boston University, Interactive Physics Demonstrations [accessed September 25, 2006] http://physics.bu.edu/~duffy/semester1/c5_incline.html.

·        If you want to make a fancier set-up to release a steel marble electrically, see the following reference:
U.C. Regents, 1996. "Acceleration," U.C. Berkeley Physics Lecture Demonstrations [accessed September 25, 2006]
http://www.mip.berkeley.edu/physics/A+0+20.html.

 


Frequency-Dependent Sound Absorption

Want to start a garage band, but Mom or Dad won't let you because it will make too much noise? This is a good project for someone who is interested in acoustics and likes to build things. Who knows, it might help you figure out how to make everyone happy. The objective of this project is to determine if sound absorption by acoustic foam and similar materials changes with the frequency of sound.

 

Resources:

·        Here's a great reference on the physics of sound:
Henderson, T., 2004. "Sound Waves and Music," The Physics Classroom, Glenbrook South High School, Glenview, IL [accessed October 3, 2006]
http://www.glenbrook.k12.il.us/GBSSCI/PHYS/CLASS/sound/u11l1a.html.

Here is a good site with information on sound-attenuating materials and construction techniques:

·        BRE, date unknown. "Improving Sound Insulation in Homes," Building Research Establishment, Ltd., UK [accessed October 3, 2006] http://www.bre.co.uk/pdf/soundins_homes.pdf.

 


Using a Laser Pointer to Measure the Data Track Spacing on CDs and DVDs         WORD        PDF

 

You've probably noticed the colorful patterns "reflecting" from the shiny surface of a CD disk. What you are seeing is actually diffraction of white light, and the rainbows of color are diffraction patterns. In this project you'll learn about how diffraction patterns are generated, and you'll find out how you can use a laser pointer and a protractor to measure the microscopic spacing of data tracks on a CD. The objective of this project is to learn how to use a diffraction pattern to measure the pitch (spacing) of the data tracks on CDs and DVDs.

 

Resources:

·        The Ripple Tank Applet is one of a set of educational math and physics Java applets by Paul Falstad:
http://www.falstad.com/ripple/index.html

·        This applet by Sergey Kiselev and Tanya Yanovsky-Kiselev illustrates the simplest case of diffraction, light passing through a single slit:
http://www.physics.uoguelph.ca/applets/Intro_physics/kisalev/java/slitdiffr/

·        Another slit-diffraction applet from the Molecular Expressions website:
http://www.microscopy.fsu.edu/primer/java/diffraction/diffractionorders/index.html

 


Light Energy & Frequency

This is a cool project that combines simple electronics and physics to investigate some basic properties of light energy. It uses an interesting method for measuring the energy of light from different parts of the visible spectrum. You'll measure the evaporation rate for drops of rubbing alcohol when it is illuminated with light from LEDs of different colors. The goal of this project is to investigate whether different frequencies of light contain different amounts of energy.

 

Resources:

For more information on how light interacts with matter, see:

·        Hoff, K. Mellendorf and V. Calder, date unknown. "Reflection and Absorption," NEWTON Ask a Scientist, Physics Archive, Argonne National Laboratory, Division of Educational Programs [accessed June 25, 2007] http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/phy00/phy00232.htm.

For high-school level references on color and vision, see:

·        Henderson, T., 2004. "Color and Vision," The Physics Classroom, Glennbrook South High School, Glennbrook, IL [accessed June 25, 2007] http://www.glenbrook.k12.il.us/GBSSCI/PHYS/Class/light/u12l2a.html.

·        Wikipedia contributors, 2007. "Color," Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia [accessed June 25, 2007] http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Color&oldid=110725908.

These webpages have useful information on LEDs:

·        Hewes, J., 2006. "Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)," The Electronics Club, Kelsey Park Sports College [accessed June 25, 2006] http://www.kpsec.freeuk.com/components/led.htm.

·        Ngineering, 2003. "LED Calculators," Ngineering.com [accessed June 25, 2006] http://www.ngineering.com/led_calculators.htm.

The visible spectrum illustration in the Introduction is from:

·        Abrisa Glass & Coatings, 2005. "Understanding Light and Color," Abrisa Glass & Coatings [accessed April 10, 2011] http://abrisatechnologies.com/docs/Guide%20to%20Glass%20Final%20April%202011.pdf.

·        Advanced. For background information on the different ways of measuring light, see:
Newport Corporation, 2007. "Optical Radiation Terminology and Units," Newport Corporation [accessed June 25, 2007]
http://www.newport.com/Optical-Radiation-Terminology-and-Units/381842/1033/catalog.aspx.

·        Advanced. Here is the data sheet for the RGB LED suggested for this project (LFL550M from Seoul Electronics): Seoul Electronics, . "LFL550M Data Sheet," Seoul Electronics [accessed June 25, 2007] http://www.seoulsemicon.co.kr/_homepage/home_kor/product/spec/LFL550M.pdf.

·        Advanced. This website has descriptions and calculators for several statistical tests, including the Student's t-test that you can use in this project:
Kirkman, T., date unknown. "Student's t-Tests," Department of Physics, College of St. Benedict & St. John's University [accessed February 23, 2006]
http://www.physics.csbsju.edu/stats/t-test.html.

·        Jacobs, S., 2007. "Do Different Frequencies of Light Contain Different Amounts of Energy?" [accessed June 25, 2007] http://www.usc.edu/CSSF/History/2007/Projects/S1610.pdf.

 


Using a Laser to Measure the Speed of Light in Gelatin        WORD        PDF

Think it takes expensive, sophisticated equipment to measure the speed of light? Think again! Outfit yourself with a simple handheld laser pointer, a protractor, and gelatin, and you're ready to get started. The objective of this science project is to measure the speed of light in gelatin by using an inexpensive laser such as a laser pointer or a laser level.

 

Resources:

This resource provides more information about lasers:

·        Wikipedia Contributors. (2010, July 6.) Laser. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved July 12, 2010, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Laser&oldid=371975776

To learn more about Snell’s law, try these links:

·        Wolfram Research. (n.d.). Snell's Law. Retrieved July 12, 2010, from http://scienceworld.wolfram.com/physics/SnellsLaw.html

·        Kaiser, Peter K. (n.d.). Snell's Law. Retrieved July 12, 2010, from http://www.yorku.ca/eye/snell.htm

·        Nave, R. (n.d.). Snell's Law. Retrieved July 12, 2010, from http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/geoopt/refr.html#c3

·        The Physics Classroom. (n.d.). The Mathematics of Refraction: Snell's Law. Retrieved July 12, 2010, from http://www.physicsclassroom.com/Class/refrn/u14l2b.cfm

The links below contain additional information about the index of refraction:

·        Reed, R. (n.d.). Refraction of light. Retrieved July 12, 2010, from http://interactagram.com/physics/optics/refraction/

·        Wolfram Research. (n.d.). Index of Refraction. Retrieved July 12, 2010, from http://scienceworld.wolfram.com/physics/IndexofRefraction.html

·        Nave, R. (n.d.). Index of Refraction. Retrieved July 12, 2010, from http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/geoopt/refr.html#c2


 

Don't You Fret! Standing Waves on a Guitar

In this project, you'll investigate the physics of standing waves on guitar strings. You'll learn about the different modes (i.e., patterns) of vibration that can be produced on a string, and you'll figure out how to produce the various modes by lightly touching the string at just the right place while you pick the string. This technique is called playing harmonics on the string. By the way, we chose a guitar for this project, but you can do the experiments using any stringed instrument, with or without frets. The goal of this project is to investigate which standing wave patterns you can produce on a guitar string by playing harmonics.

 

Resources:

Waves: the first reference is a good general introduction, and those that follow cover the specific topics indicated by their titles:

·        Henderson, T., 2004. "Sound Waves and Music," The Physics Classroom, Glenbrook South High School, Glenview, IL [accessed March 27, 2006] http://www.glenbrook.k12.il.us/GBSSCI/PHYS/CLASS/sound/u11l1a.html.

·        Nave, C.R., 2006a. "Standing Waves on a String," HyperPhysics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Georgia State University [accessed March 27, 2006] http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/Hbase/waves/string.html#c1.

·        Nave, C.R., 2006b. "Resonances of Open Air Columns," HyperPhysics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Georgia State University [accessed March 27, 2006] http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/Hbase/waves/opecol.html#c1.

·        FlashMusicGames, 2007. "How Guitar Works," FlashMusicGames.com [accessed July 2, 2007] http://www.flashmusicgames.com/how_guitar_works.html.

·        Here's a great article about harmonics on guitar strings:
Lehman, S., 1999. "Understanding Harmonics," Harmony Central [accessed July 2, 2007]
http://www.harmony-central.com/Guitar/harmonics.html.

·        Here's a more advanced article on harmonics and the physics of guitars:
Hokin, S., 2002. "The Physics of Everyday Stuff: The Guitar," The Physics of Everyday Stuff website [accessed July 2, 2007]
http://www.bsharp.org/physics/stuff/guitar.html.

·        Here is a table showing guitar and piano note frequencies:
Aubochon, V., 2004. "Musical Note Frequencies: Guitar and Piano," Vaughn's One-Page Summaries [accessed July 2, 2007]
http://www.vaughns-1-pagers.com/music/musical-note-frequencies.htm.

·        Here is the source of the diagram showing the fundamental frequencies corresponding to the 88 keys of the piano:
Irvine, T., 2000. "An Introduction to Music Theory," VibrationData.com Piano Page [accessed July 2, 2007]
http://www.vibrationdata.com/piano.htm.

 


Building a Cell Phone Microscope

 

Imagine you are on a trip and see something interesting that you want to share with your friends. What do you do? You take a picture with your cell phone and e-mail it to them, of course. But did you realize that the same technology can be used to save lives? Using their cell phones modified as inexpensive microscopes, medical personnel can look at blood smears to help diagnose diseases like malaria and cholera. In this photography science project you will build a simple and inexpensive cell phone microscope and use it in your choice of imaging applications. The objective of this project is to build a cell phone microscope and use it in an imaging application.

 

Resources:

·        Sherwood, C. (2010, July 15). New in telemedicine: The cell phone microscope. Smartplanet. Retrieved May 7, 2012, from www.smartplanet.com/blog/pure-genius/new-in-telemedicine-the-cell-phone-microscope/4141

·        Rodewald, M. (2010, June 29). UCLA engineer's telemedicine invention poised to begin trials in Africa. UCLA Newsroom. Retrieved May 7, 2012, from newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/ucla-engineer-s-telemedicine-invention-160653.aspx

·        SmartPlanetCBS. (2010, July 7). Turning a cell phone into a microscope. Retrieved May 7, 2012, from www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qcJySNLs84

·        Rayment, W. J. (2012). How a compound light microscope works. InDepthInfo on the Microscope. Retrieved May 7, 2012, from www.indepthinfo.com/microscopes/compound.htm

 


Paintball Ballistics

Have you ever played paintball with your friends? Wonder how you can improve your game? Paintball guns use compressed gas to shoot paint-filled pellets at high speed, and with good accuracy. The flight path of the ball is determined by its speed and the angle at which it is shot, relative to the ground. In this sports science fair project, you will explore the ballistics of paintballs, focusing on how drag and other factors affect the results. The objective of this sports science fair project is to compare the calculated vs. actual range and launch velocity of a paintball. The difference between the expected values, based on calculations, and the actual values, which are measured experimentally, is caused by drag and other real-world factors.

 

Resources:

·        The Physics Classroom. (n.d.). Projectile Motion. Retrieved April 6, 2009, from http://www.physicsclassroom.com/Class/vectors/u3l2a.cfm

·        Nave, R. (n.d.). Trajectories. Retrieved April 7, 2009, from http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/Hbase/traj.html

 


Acceleration Due To Gravity

Conduct three distinct methods to measure the acceleration due to gravity, 9.81 m/s2.  The methods should involve the following scenarios:  free fall of an object, motion of a simple pendulum and the motion of a spring.  Each method should compare the accuracy of the results to the known value and advantages and disadvantages of each method.  Submit a full laboratory report, compiling the results from the three methods.


Golf Clubs, Loft Angle, and Distance

If your idea of a great weekend morning is taking some practice swings at a driving range, or heading out to the links to play a round, this could be a good project for you. This project is designed to answer the question, what is the relationship between club loft angle and the distance that the ball travels when struck. The goal of this project is to measure how the initial launch angle of a golf ball affects how far the ball travels.

 

Resources:

For basic information on golf clubs (purposes of the different types, typical distances for clubs), see:

·        Pinemeadow Golf Products, Inc., 2007. "Golf Lesson #1: The Basics of Golf Clubs," [accessed April 12, 2007] http://www.pinemeadowgolf.com/clubs101_1.html.

·        Kelley, B., 2007. "Golf Club Distances," About: Golf, Golf.About.com [accessed April 12, 2007] http://golf.about.com/od/beginners/l/blclubdistance.htm.

For more information on projectile motion and momentum, see:

·        Henderson, T., 2004a. "Vectors and Motion in Two Dimensions," The Physics Classroom, Glenbrook South High School, Glenview, IL [accessed April 12, 2007] http://www.glenbrook.k12.il.us/gbssci/Phys/Class/vectors/vectoc.html.

·        Henderson, T., 2004b. "Momentum and Its Conservation," The Physics Classroom, Glenbrook South High School, Glenview, IL [accessed April 12, 2007] http://www.glenbrook.k12.il.us/gbssci/Phys/Class/momentum/momtoc.html.

·        This project idea is from:
Goodstein, M., 1999. Sports Science Projects: The Physics of Balls in Motion. Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers, pp. 83–85.

 


A Cure for Hooks and Slices? Asymmetric Dimple Patterns and Golf Ball Flight

Have you ever wondered why golf balls have a pattern of dimples on their surface? The dimples are important for determining how air flows around the ball when it is in flight. The dimple pattern, combined with the spin imparted to the ball when hit by the club, greatly influence the ball's flight path. For example, backspin generates lift, prolonging flight. When the ball is not hit squarely with the club, varying degrees of sidespin are imparted to the ball. A clockwise sidespin (viewed from the top) will cause the ball to veer right (or slice). A counterclockwise sidespin will cause the ball to veer left (or hook). This project attempts to answer the question, "Can an asymmetric dimple pattern decrease hooks and slices?"  The goal of this project is to test whether an asymmetric dimple pattern on golf balls can produce straighter flight.

 

Resources:

For information on golf ball aerodynamics, try these resources:

·        Portz, S., date unknown. "Why Does a Golf Ball Slice or Draw?" Physlink.com [accessed April 11, 2007] http://www.physlink.com/education/AskExperts/ae423.cfm.

·        Scott, J., 2005. "Golf Ball Dimples and Drag," Aerospaceweb.org [accessed April 11, 2007] http://www.aerospaceweb.org/question/aerodynamics/q0215.shtml.

·        Cislunar Aerospace, 1996. "Aerodynamics in Sports Equipment: Why Does a Golf Ball Have Dimples?" Cislunar Aerospace, Inc. [accessed April 11, 2007] http://www.fi.edu/wright/again/wings.avkids.com/wings.avkids.com/Book/Sports/instructor/golf-01.html.

·        Titleist, 2006. "Titleist: Technology: Principles of Aerodynamics," Titleist.com [accessed April 11, 2007] http://www.titleist.com/technology/aerodynamics.asp?bhcp=1.

·        Veilleux, T. and V. Simonds, 2004. "How Do Dimples in Golf Balls Affect Their Flight?" Scientific American, Ask the Experts [accessed April 11, 2007 http://www.sciam.com/askexpert_question.cfm?articleID=000BB2B1-AD6A-1FF0-AD6A83414B7F0000.

·        This webpage describes a method for visually estimating wind speed:
NWS, 2007. "Beaufort Wind Scale," National Weather Service Forecast Office, Miami-South Florida [accessed April 11, 2007]
http://www.srh.noaa.gov/mfl/hazards/info/beaufort.php.

·        This website has descriptions and calculators for several statistical tests, including Student's t-test that you can use in this project:
Kirkman, T., date unknown. "Student's t-Tests," Department of Physics, College of St. Benedict & St. John's University [accessed April 11, 2007]
http://www.physics.csbsju.edu/stats/t-test.html.

 


Choose Your Own Topic

If there is a topic in physics that is not on this list, but you would like to research, consult Mr. Jennings in order to develop a good project description (i.e. thesis) and a list of appropriate references.