questions concerning measurements, experiments, and activities that demonstrate physics and are safe to do at home, require at most one tool or ingredient not readily available, and can be interpreted or analyzed on one sheet of paper with accessible math.

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1answer
168 views

Metal rod between a capacitor

In my experiment, I am filling liquid crystal between two glass plates. Nn AC voltage is applied on them. The thickness of the liquid crystal cell is around $200 \mu m$. One glass plate is with +V and ...
3
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2answers
350 views

Most sophisticated experiment you could perform in your garage? [closed]

What are some of the most elegant/complex/sophisticated physics experiments one could perform in his garage, if he has enough spare time and technical/theoretical know-how, but a relatively limited ...
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1answer
3k views

If 1 screw can support 120 lbs, how much weight can 25 screws support?

While this is mainly about my personal home improvement project, I figure this would be a good opportunity for some of you to apply your physics skills to a real-world situation. My situation is ...
3
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1answer
297 views

Home-made Shock diamond

Is there any way of creating a "home-made" effect of shock diamond phenomenon that I could take a picture of? If so, How could I make one?
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3answers
799 views

How to measure force of impact inside container?

I am in 7th grade and for my science fair project, I need a way to measure the force on a dropped object when it hits the ground. What I am trying to determine is which packing materials provide the ...
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1answer
2k views

Energy in bolognese reduction - lid on or off?

Generally, to let my bolognese thicken, I leave the lid off in order to "let water vapor escape." I am however distracted from enjoying the taste because I'm having doubts that my physical reasoning ...
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2answers
1k views

Inductance - Sign convention problem…

My problem is with a circuit containing a resistor of suitable resistance $R$ and a solenoid. At time $t<0$, there was a battery that created a current in the circuit and at $t=0$, the battery is ...
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6answers
4k views

Tried to do the double slit experiment, failed. Why?

I tried, and failed, to do the double-slit experiment. I thought I had a good experiment setup, but obviously I was wrong. Can anyone offer some insight in what I might have done wrong? Most of ...
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1answer
491 views

Does a microwave resonantly excite the rotational levels when cooking?

Wikipedia states there is no resonance absorption, but says at the same time that the molecules are oscillating like dipoles, which is kind of the same if you are exciting the rotational levels ? The ...
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3answers
29k views

Why do grapes in a microwave oven produce plasma?

Some of you may know this experience (Grape + Microwave oven = Plasma video link): take a grape that you almost split in two parts, letting just a tiny piece of skin making a link between each ...
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1answer
796 views

Are coffee's properties different enough from water's to cause increased spillage while walking?

I recently found this article, which describes how... It just so happens that the human stride has almost exactly the right frequency to drive the natural oscillations of coffee, when the fluid is ...
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2answers
139 views

Handling halogen lamps

When consulting manuals, electricians, online sources, etc., they always instruct you to handle halogen light bulbs with gloves. The "explanation" that usually accompanies this statement is that oils ...
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2answers
439 views

Hanging a Hammock

I have a hammock that I want to hang using a tree on one end and a wooden post set in a bucket of cement on the other end. How would I determine how heavy the cement needs to be so that it would ...
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1answer
131 views

Find the real height of an object by eyes

I wonder if I can get the height of an object (tree or a building) with the knowledge of: The distance between me and the object? The apparent height of that object?
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2answers
470 views

Demonstrate magnets adhere to conservation of energy pursuant to the laws of thermodynamics

I am looking for a way to demonstrate that magnets adhere to the laws of thermodynamics, in particular the requirement that energy in a closed system be conserved. To adhere to the requirement that ...
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2answers
700 views

Why does laser light not affect glowing materials?

I have this childrens rubber ball which glows in the dark after it's exposed to light. I "charge" it with a flash light then play with my dogs at night. I thought to try a very intense green laser, ...
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2answers
1k views

Why does the note played by a flute not change in this case when the air column is interrupted?

I play the flute as a hobby, and I've noticed that when playing middle D or E flat, one can interrupt the air column by releasing a certain key (which is near the middle of the air column), and yet ...
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4answers
279 views

List of Physical Toys [closed]

There should be a list of toys considered "physical", which demonstrate or make you think over certain physical principles/phenomena. And of course which could just amaze. Related question at MSE is ...
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6answers
2k views

Simple Experiment to Demonstrate Special Relativity

I am trying to think of a good experiment that can be done for under $250 or so that would demonstrate some aspect of Special Relativity. Ideally this will be done in a few years with my kids when ...
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1answer
57 views

Does water in the drain follow the distance-squared rule of force?

When I shower I notice that the soapy water spinning around the drain often takes the form of a spinning galaxy, complete with spiral arms. Does this indicate that the water's speed around the drain ...
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3answers
206 views

What's the most efficient strategy to shake a bottle to create a global flow?

Consider a bottle of orange juice with pieces of the fruit gathered at the bottom of the bottle. You need to shake the bottle to evenly distribute the pieces in the bottle. The first part of the ...
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3answers
263 views

Quantum experiments in the pre-industrial era

Could an 18th century or earlier scientist have come across phenomena which require quantum theories to explain them, given the apparatus available at the time? I'll choose 1805 as the cut-off date, ...
3
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3answers
238 views

What are some creative illustrations of the nature of dissipative forces?

I'm teaching a conceptual introduction to physics for American 13-15 year old students this summer. One of the main ideas I want to hit on is the relationship between energy conservation, ...
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1answer
429 views

Enhance a home build spectrometer

I would like to build a home made spectrometer like it's describing here: http://coolcosmos.ipac.caltech.edu/cosmic_games/spectra/makeGrating.htm How can I improve this spectrometer? A prism from an ...
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1answer
216 views

What could I test for in a guillotine? [closed]

I'm doing a school assignment project and I need to investigate something of my choice. I was thinking of doing something about how the height and angle the blade of a guillotine is dropped from ...
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3answers
5k views

Solar Eclipse Viewing

I know it is not safe when viewing a solar eclipse to look directly at the sun. I know you can purchase solar eclipse glasses online but how do you make your own solar eclipse glasses that are safe to ...
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2answers
1k views

Conservation of angular momentum in helicopter

I have a small RC-controlled toy helicopter with removable tail rotor. Suppose I remove the tail rotor, hold the tail with my hand, start the rotor until it moves with constant angular velocity and ...
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0answers
506 views

Why does a coin falls faster when it's flipping as well?

From my experiments with measuring how fast a coin falls, I have consistently measured a faster falling rate for a coin that flips as it falls. As an example, a coin dropping on its edge from height ...
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1answer
2k views

Why is the lid of the cookware kept on induction cooker not hot?

Induction cookware cooks food by inducing an electro magnetic field in the ferro-magnetic cookware. Since iron offers a lot of resistance to the current, the current is converted into heat in the ...
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1answer
335 views

Per unit area, is there more heat transfer through the open top of a mug or the side walls?

I had a mug of hot coffee cool too rapidly for my liking the other day, which made me wonder what was the greater contributor to heat loss for a typical open-top ceramic mug: the open top, the walls, ...
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3answers
3k views

Why does the sound pitch increase on every consecutive tick at the bottom of a filled cup of coffee?

Since I don't know the proper physical terms for this, I describe it in everyday English. The following has kept me wondering for quite some time and so far I haven't found a reasonable explanation. ...
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4answers
903 views

Astronomy Experiments for Amateurs

Are there any resources online for astronomy experiments that I can perform myself? I am looking if anyone knows any measurements to take while looking for various objects during the evening ...
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1answer
376 views

Are there good home experiments to get a feel for the behavior of yield-stress liquids?

What common household liquids / foodstuffs show Herschel-Bulkley fluid behavior? I assume tomato soup to be one, since when sloshing it around lightly on a spoon the visible surface moves as one (as ...
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1answer
637 views

Heat absorbed by a room

How can one calculate the amount of heat absorbed inside a room in a single day using the temperature readings of the day? If the temperature has to be reduced from 30C to 20C how much heat should be ...
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2answers
3k views

Microwaves vs Gas or Electric Coil heating of a water boiler in a typical household

Wouldn't it be more energy efficient and or safe to use microwaves to heat our home's water boiler instead of using dangerous gas or hot electric coils that could catch other things on fire? I'm kinda ...
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2answers
126 views

static shock=thermocouple?

I used to live in Boston. Near my complex, there was an apartment complex with lots of our friends. Anyways, that place had faulty heating most of the time; mainly in the corridors. They were pretty ...
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0answers
95 views

Is putting a charged balloon up to a neutral wall polarization AND temporary induction, or just polarization?

Is putting a balloon that is charged up against a wall and having it stick polarization AND charging by temporary induction, or just polarization?
5
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5answers
7k views

Why does hot oil explode when pouring water on it?

I am puzzled to know, What is the reason of hot oil make sound and explode when we pouring water on it?
5
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1answer
167 views

Why does separating plastic from a cough drop create flashes?

I was tearing open individually-wrapped cough drops in the dark, and noticed that when I pulled apart two adhesive-joined pieces of silvery plastic film, small flashes of light were produced. It was ...
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3answers
560 views

Simple home pressure experiment: how to understand the dependence on the glass opening?

Suppose you put a drinking glass under water such that it is completely filled with water. Then hold it upside down and slowly raise the drinking glass out of the water. The water in the drinking ...
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4answers
171 views

Is a macroscopic pair where I observe one of them quantum entanglement?

Of what little I know/understand about quantum entanglement can somebody confirm if the following experiment is a good analogy to quantum entanglement of pair of particles? PS: please don't laugh as ...
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2answers
186 views

What are the lines visible between two cards held edge-to-edge?

Hold two cards (say credit cards) edge to edge, anything from a very slight touch to about 1/3 mm separation, in front of any ordinary light source. When I do this I see several fine dark parallel ...
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3answers
985 views

Long-Life High Altitude Balloon

Normally high-altitude balloon experiments end with the balloon popping and the payload falling back down to be reclaimed. But if a second balloon was attached to the payload, one which was only ...
4
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1answer
1k views

What tests can I do at home to identify any metal?

Regarding a question on another Stack Exchange site which identifies a weighted Lego brick to be some kind of metal, I wanted to know how to identify a metal, perhaps limited to household objects like ...
4
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1answer
143 views

How can there be a path to ground with thick shoes and a carpet?

I'm connecting a test light to one pin of an halogen lamp. When I touch the metallic part on the back of the test light, the light glows, as it is supposed to. However, I have thick shoes and I am ...
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3answers
12k views

Why does the water rise?

It's a very popular experiment (eg), from elementary school : put a burning candle on a dish filled with water, cover the candle with an inverted glass: after a little while, the candle flame goes ...
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1answer
285 views

How does a piece of paper manage to pump out the water from a bowl

When we go to bed at home, we started to put a bowl of water on the radiator (the air gets a bit dry). By instinct I put a soaked piece of paper (e.g. toilet paper) into the bowl and let it touch the ...
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1answer
1k views

What are the specific requirements for a do-it-yourself quantum double-slit experiment?

I was shocked to recently learn that the double-slit experiment is not only possible to do with completely ordinary equipment (with photons of course), but it actually looks rather easy. This is from ...
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4answers
329 views

Applications of recoil principle in classical physics

Are there any interesting, important or (for the non physicist) astonishing examples where the recoil principle (as special case of conservation of linear momentum) is applied beside rockets and guns? ...
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2answers
2k views

Is a given volume of sparkling water lighter or heavier than the same volume of still water?

I can see it two ways - if all the $CO_2$ has turned into bubbles I would imagine it is lighter. However dissolved $CO_2$ atoms are probably heaver than the $H_2O$ atoms they replace, or fit in ...