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The Neon Lamp Flasher

John Childs, Grenville Christian College, Brockville

This simple little homemade device can provide a very effective demonstration of AC current, it’s fun, and it’s cheap! All you need is a little neon lamp, a resistor and an AC cord. Solder one leg of the neon lamp in series with a 10K, 1/2 watt resistor, and then attach to the AC cord. Heat shrink tubing is excellent insulation for this construction, otherwise use carefully applied electrical tape. Be sure to insulate throughly, you have AC power here. Read More...

An Inexpensive Vibrator for Standing Waves

Peter Scovil, Waterford District High School,

At the OAPT Conference this past June at the University of Waterloo, I gave a short demonstration of a vibrator I built from a Radio Shack speaker. It allowed me to produce longitudinal as well as transverse standing waves. This is based on an idea from one of the AAPT conference workshops. Read More...

Lenz’s Law with Plumbing Pipes

John M. Pitre, Department of Physics, University of Toronto

In the January 1997 issue of The Physics Teacher, two articles appeared detailing the use of rare earth magnets to demonstrate Lenz’s Law in the classroom. The principle involved is that a permanent magnet falling through a tubular conductor will induce a current in the conductor and hence a magnetic field which will oppose the magnetic field of the permanent magnet and thus slow its rate of fall. This article gives variations of the methods discussed in those papers. Read More...

A Multi-Purpose Instrument

Tomasz Dindorf and Wojciech Dindorf
Donaufelderstr. 252/24, 1220 Wien, Austria

(Editor's note: This article is reproduced, with permission, from a delightful little book, "The Sun on the Floor -Physics experiments that can be performed at home." This 68-page book describes 58 experiments that can be accomplished with simple apparatus. There are many drawings and photographs to illustrate the experiments. A single copy of the book can be ordered for only $10 U.S. from the authors at the address above, and 20 copies can be obtained for $100 U.S.) Read More...

A Crazy Cantilever

George Vanderkuur, WICED Centre, TDSB

Bricks, books, or metre sticks are all you need for this neat demonstration. As illustrated, the top brick projects by half its length and subsequent bricks project 1/4, 1/6, 1/8, et. Brick lengths. After n bricks, the cantilever will project a distance of d = 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/6 + … + 1/(2n). This may be simplified to d = 1/2 (1 + 1/2 + 1/3 + … + 1/n). For four bricks, the projected distance is 1.04 brick lengths, and for n = 5, the distance is 1.14 brick lengths (so that the top brick is clearly out beyond the edge of the table). Read More...
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