An Experiment (Kinda) With Waves and Stuff…

So, as the year is wrapping up, it has come to our attention that we should make THE ENTIRE WORLD aware of all the awesome things we have done in Physics this year. I have kept you guys pretty updated with everything I have done so far. We spent most of our time first semester playing with a quadcopter that to this day I still curse! Stinking thing will never work… Then, when second semester started, I started to work on some projects on my own. My first project was a mobile, which took WAY LONGER than it ever should have, but that is because I wasn’t quite getting the big picture! To see everything about that project, you can look at these 1 2 3 blog posts (p.s. each number is a different blog post (: )! Then after that I did some fun stuff with waves, which is what I will be talking about now.

As I was searching for another project to do, I kept thinking about pendulums and was curious if I could do anything with that. Luckily for me, that is when my brilliant teacher came to my rescue and gave me an idea–to create waves with a pendulum, some sand and a piece of paper. How does this work? Well, let me tell you! So I set up a nice little rig including a ring stand and a plastic syringe that had been a little cut up. Basically, the syringe had the tip cut of so that there was a tiny hole in the bottom and it also had the top bulb cut in half so you could put something inside the syringe. I then tied the syringe to the edge of the ring stand and it swung pretty well (at least well enough to make waves on 8 inch wide papers). The next step was to put some sand (at first is was dirt and magnetic filings, but that didn’t work so well) in the syringe, so that as the syringe swung, something would track the path it takes. So about now you are probably wondering how this makes a wave instead of a giant pile of sand. Well, the solution to the potential of mini sand dunes is simple–move the paper! Once you move the paper sideways while the pendulum is swinging, you get WAVES! They look a little like this…


As you can see the beginning of the wave is a little iffy, and that is purely because I don’t understand how to swing things. But it straightened out eventually and made some pretty decent little waves. So then I experimented a little bit with how fast I would move the paper, seeing as how that would affect the wavelength. HYPOTHESIS: If I slow down the movement of the paper then the wavelength will be shorter because there is less distance for the waves to travel in a certain amount of time. Contrarily, if I speed up the movement of the paper, the wavelengths will be longer because they cover more distance in a certain amount of time. I know, it seems like a pretty basic process but, I figured it is science either way you swing it (haha did you see what I did there…)!

So, moving back to the point, here is a picture of the waves when I slowed down the paper.


So, MY HYPOTHESIS WAS CORRECT! Not that it makes me an evil genius or anything because it is a little bit of common sense, but yeah. So the wavelengths definitely were shorter! So, lets see if my hypothesis stands for speeding the paper up…


And it does! TOUCH DOWN! Like I said, this project was little bit of common sense, but it was still fun to do. Plus, I didn’t even realize you could make waves with a pendulum and some paper! It was enjoyable to be able to play around with waves, after all they are in our everyday lives! Either way, I hope you liked my little, silly blog post! And maybe someone will do this project again some day and probably be a little more creative!

P.S. I apologize for the caps and bolding throughout! I think it is a symptom of Senioritis, seeing has how we have 3 DAYS LEFT!



Yes, you read correctly! I have officially completed my mobile.  It took weeks of planning and about 20 minutes to get it hung up! Here is a picture of it!

photo (4)

It slowly spins in a circle and I am amazingly proud of it. The big circular molecule is benzine. The second one down is propane and the last ones are water and formaldehyde. And, that is that.  I had originally planned to have some more layers, but the weight ended up not really working out that way! Either way I am proud of it, and will now be moving on to my next project.


The Mobile…Continued!

So, life is good and the mobile is sort of happening…. I was gone for 3 days last week so I didn’t get much work done.  But, I do know what I am going to hang off of my mobile…molecules! I know, it is totally awesome!  This is a picture of the one I have made so far, so you can get the idea of what will be hanging off the mobile.

photo (2)

I still can’t decide if I am going to have the mobile off set or equal.  Making it off set will be a little tricker, but it may be worth it… I’m just not sure! Oh, and I also decided that I would end up building it from the bottom up, considering that would be a little easier than going from top to bottom.  But, anyway that is how life is with the mobile.


The Mobile

So, I have spent the last two weeks feeling very unsuccessful, and that may be because I was! For a while, I spent my days moving string millimeters along a wooden pole in hopes of finding equilibrium, only to come back the next day and find my mobile out of whack yet again!  So, I did a little research to see if I could find a way to calculate equilibrium before even hanging my pole (also, my smart teacher suggested this at the beginning and foolish me put it to the back of her mind until now…). And, I think I found the way (that is coming in a little bit).  However, I cannot take all the credit for myself.  I was wandering the web one day, not expecting to find any sites that I hadn’t already read and I cam across this little beauty!  It is a literal “How-To” for building mobiles! Why I hadn’t found this in my previous extensive google searches, I have no idea (stupid internet)!  But one of the most interesting things I noticed from this site is, at the bottom, it shows this glorious picture…

mobile curve vs flat

I had spent what felt like most of life (truly just about 9 days) trying to find a very exact balance point, and I didn’t feel like it anymore! So, I will be using curves for my mobile.  The only problem was that I would need some sort of wire that I could use for a curve.  The answer: a wire hanger.  So, I took a hanger from my house (without telling my mom because those seem to be a specialty in my house) and unbent it and turned it into the perfect thing for my mobile. YAY!


Isn’t it pretty (you can plead the 5th on that one)? But, now I will move onto the interesting part: how I am going to calculate equilibrium.  If you looked at the site I mentioned before you would have found this great picture…

So, this really doesn’t make much sense with out and explanation, so prepare yourselves for one! The point of a mobile is so that A and B are equal weight.  So, whatever I put on side A has to be the weight on side be.  So, by using ratios I should be able to calculate my equilibrium with out trial and error (this is very hopeful). I will make sure that the length ratios for each side of my mobile are the same.  For example is my top curve has a ratio of 2:1 (meaning that where the string lands, one side is double the length of the other) then all the curves below it will have the same length ratio.  Then, I can come up with a weight ratio as well.  I’m just not that far yet, but you will know when I get there!


New Beginnings

Well, this is Mandi! All by herself! But don’t worry, I’m ok! I decided to work on my own physics project! The quadcopter turned into a no go, and now I am going for a more artsy track in the study of physics. So, to begin my wonderful adventure, I took an idea from Mr. Ludwig and decided to try and make a mobile.  For those of you don’t know what this is, here are a few BEAUTIFUL examples…



I only can hope to make something this awesome! But the real trick to this is that it is in some sort of equilibrium! I have yet to figure out how that happened, but I may eventually.  So, as you may have guessed, the key to a mobile is making sure everything is in equilibrium.  So, now I get to experiment.

Since I only started this project yesterday, I’m not super far.  Yesterday I succeeded at research a getting a wooden pole in equilibrium. I attached a string to it by tying something rather short of a boy scout knot!  Sadly, it escaped my mind to take a picture of this beautiful pole! Why can’t I just take a picture now, you may ask?  Well, here is what it looks like at the moment…

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Such amazing equilibrium, right?  That’s ok, you don’t have to say yes, and please feel free to laugh! For those you who know me, you know I have a super short attention span.  I attached a second layer to my mobile, but only did so on one side, so it looks a little funky! Then, I realized I hadn’t wrote my blog post for the week, so that is where I left it.  Don’t worry, it will look better later (at least that is the hope)!  Here is a poorly drawn picture (I’m not a future artist) of the master plan!

photo 3

The circles are some artsy objects I have yet to find! And, of course this picture shows my mobile in perfect equilibrium, which may be a little difficult to achieve! But, trust me, when I do achieve such a thing, the blog will be the first to know!


Quadcoptor Group

This week we weren’t really able to do much with our original project, but we did get all the mounts made on the propellers and on the motherboard. We also ordered our new receiver. We learned that crossing wires has a small chance of blowing the original receiver, and our group is that one in a million where it happens to us. Thanks to Trevor for helping learn that information. 

While we are waiting, for it to come in, we found these videos on YouTube called Simon’s Cat. What we plan on doing is taking these videos and figuring out the physics of what the cat is doing. So that is what we’ve been working on for the last couple of days, and probably for some of next week.
The only sad thing about this is that Mandi and myself can no longer fly our Quadcopter down the halls of the school and deck the halls with boughs with holly.


Quadcopter Group

Houston, we have a problem…..

No, scratch that. Let me try again:

Houston, we have a LOT of problems!

Last week we got out propellers to operate individually, and respond to controller inputs. But now that we’ve connected all four, NOTHING will work. Check out our apparatus:


Aaaaaand this is how we feel:


Must we say more?? More work after break!!