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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6
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3answers
393 views

How accurately can I expect to measure the gravitational constant with a club of college students?

I am a math instructor with almost no experimental physics background, but I run a math and engineering club that is interested in doing some experiments. I have read up a bit and see some obvious ...
6
votes
3answers
120 views

Is it possible to produce images of pair production in home-made cloud chamber?

There are some nice pictures on the web showing the counter-spiralling paths of an electron positron pair produced in a bubble chamber with a uniform magnetic field, for example:- Would it be ...
10
votes
1answer
152 views

Why does finely cut paper curl?

When paper is cut to a small width, it curls up like this. Why does this happen?
340
votes
19answers
128k views

Cooling a cup of coffee with help of a spoon

During the breakfast with my colleagues, a question popped into my head: What is the fastest method to cool a cup of coffee, if your only available instrument is a spoon? A qualitative answer would ...
0
votes
1answer
47 views

How to prove R value for insulation?

I ran some tests on different types of insulation. I heated water, and placed it into an insulated box. The temperature was recorded every minute, for the water, as well as the air. The insulation ...
2
votes
5answers
84 views

How to transfer mechanical power from the inside of a vacuum chamber to the outside while maintaining a seal?

In a vacuum chamber how would one transfer mechanical power (either rotation or linear) from inside to the external environment? I'm working on an idea for a new/different type of motor that would ...
2
votes
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 ...
3
votes
1answer
148 views

If friction disregard area, why the direction you drag a long object matters?

I am talking here about dry friction between solid objects, for example a ruler and a table, not anything lubricated or fluid. I noticed that with a ruler and a table for example, if you drag the ...
184
votes
4answers
31k views

Can I compute the mass of a coin based on the sound of its fall?

Other day, I bumped my bookshelf and a coin fell down. This gave me an idea. Is it possible to compute the mass of a coin, based on the sound emitted when it falls? I think that there should be a ...
34
votes
9answers
4k views

Classic home experiments for an 8-year-old child

My 8-year-old daughter's school report says that she's good at understanding the basic science she's doing, but she's having trouble seeing how experimental results lead to conclusions. Specifically, ...
4
votes
1answer
38 views

Is a non-Newtonian gas possible?

I was wondering if it was possible to have a Non-Newtonian Gas. I was planning a science fair experiment to try to create one if its possible.
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Homemade particle accelerator

Watching a documentary, I heard Michio Kaku telling that when he was young, he built a home-made particle accelerator. What I would like to know is if I, myself can do so? And how?
0
votes
1answer
32 views

What length should be the gap to block UV waves from the Sun?

The origin of the question is practical, but the theoretical part is interesting too. Let's rest a little bit on the roof on a sunny summer day. We don't want to get burned, so we usually place some ...
0
votes
1answer
42 views

Maxwell calculations that predicted the generation of waves (further use for wireless telegraphs)

At this point in this documentary about the history of electricity: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPnS2WO2_0k&t=4m40s the guy says the Maxwell calculations predicted the generation of certain ...
77
votes
24answers
8k views

How can you weigh your own head in an accurate way?

I read some methods but they're not accurate. They use the Archimedes principle and they assume uniform body density which of course is far from true. Others are silly like this one: Take a knife ...
0
votes
1answer
114 views

Does the termination point(level) influence water flow from a pipe

I get water to my home from a nearby Tank A at a certain height above ground level. I have a 1" pipe through which I get this water to my home.. I leave this water into my well by connecting a 1" tube ...
0
votes
2answers
507 views

Potential energy from opposing magnets repelling each other with a gap of 1 mm

I have two powerful rare earth magnets, that are separated by a distance of 1 mm. I applied energy to bring them closer to each other, hence increasing the potential energy. Now, when one of the ...
1
vote
1answer
159 views

How can one explain the Kelvin Water drop experiment without assuming the container to already possess a positive charge?

Kelvin Water Dropper experiment refers to the electrostatic generator invented by Lord Kelvin, which uses falling water to generate a voltage by electrostatic induction occurring between ...
4
votes
1answer
58 views

Self Stirring Boiling Liquid

A couple of weeks ago, a friend and I were brewing a new batch of beer. We boil our wort in a turkey fryer. Pretty standard setup for beginners. Anyway, our wort was getting pretty close to boiling ...
1
vote
0answers
45 views

Solar still and how it works

I use a solar still that holds 182 cubic feet of water. Here is how it works: There is an insulator on both sides of the metal bowl. On the outside it covers the whole thing. on the inside it covers ...
1
vote
3answers
93 views

Should a Faraday cage block a radio's signal?

Today, I tried creating a very basic Faraday cage by surrounding a radio with two baking trays made out of iron. It didn't seem to affect the radio's signal (AM was being used, not FM). In theory, ...
0
votes
1answer
26 views

How a plasma reacts with an AC electromagnet

Any metal conductor such as aluminium or copper is a conductor because of the free electrons in such metals. Plasma also has free electrons so I would like to know if you can repel plasma the same ...
1
vote
1answer
53 views

Why does glass absorb infrared light?

I was under the impression that glass was transparent to light with a wavelength above ultraviolet, but when playing with my latest toy, an infrared thermometer which brought up a question I asked ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

Is coherent light required for interference in Young's double slit experiment?

In this Veritasium video, a home experiment is presented which appears to produce a very good double-slit interference pattern with normal sunlight. The experiment is an empty cardboard box with a ...
1
vote
1answer
55 views

Conservation of energy and the 'crazy ball' product

Well I'm not sure how many people remember the crazy ball - a small ball made of rubber which bounced like crazy. What I noticed is that the ball seemed to bounce higher than the point from which it ...
2
votes
0answers
32 views

Is there a cheap way I can do a Bell inequality experiment?

My work is almost completely theoretical/computational. But I'd really like to do a Bell inequality experiment just so I can personally see this (the best way to learn something is hands-on, right?) ...
6
votes
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 ...
1
vote
4answers
124 views

Experiment - Measuring final velocity of a parachute

I'm working on a project that involves a scale parachute. It is vital for the project to get a good measurement of the speed it has when it lands. We still haven't built the parachute, but we need a ...
6
votes
9answers
826 views

How to measure speed of a ceiling fan?

I thought for fun I might measure how my ceiling fan slows down when turned off, and maybe find out what forces act on it when it slows down. My problem is that for that I need to measure its ...
4
votes
1answer
543 views

Does the pressure increase under an upturned glass?

During my children's bath time we were playing with an upturned plastic jug filled with water and making some plastic divers float up inside the jug - see image. If one of the divers swam from A to ...
3
votes
1answer
198 views

Why my simple electromagnetic experiment does not work?

I make a setup (see attached picture). ONE coil (1" diameter x ~120 turns), which is separated with a gap, is mount on two sides. Each side has an iron rod (1" diameter x 6" long) to increase the ...
5
votes
2answers
478 views

Are there any astronomical objects at night that are dangerous to look at (through a telescope)?

Are there any astronomical bodies that would be dangerous to my vision to view through a telescope? Obviously the sun is dangerous, but are there other bodies at night I should avoid?
0
votes
2answers
120 views

Problem with horizontal projectile motion questions

I don't really understand horizontal projectile motion. Suppose I throw a ball horizontally. Given $\theta$ = 0 degrees, time = 0.5 seconds, horizontal range = 15.5 metres, the "initial horizontal ...
0
votes
1answer
205 views

Magnetic field, alternated current and EMF

If I apply an alternated current to a solenoid and insert into it a smaller solenoid, I could measure the induced EMF (electromotive force) and study how it changes in relation to the frequency of ...
2
votes
2answers
72 views

Cloud chamber temperature

I'm planning to build a small cloud chamber. The design is the usual: alcohol evaporates at the top by gently heating it with a thin wire and small current. The vapour sinks to the bottom of the ...
0
votes
1answer
32 views

Is it possible to create a solar cell in home? [closed]

I'm not really sure that this is the place to ask this question, but anyway. I'm curious is it possible to create a solar cell (not panel with 2$ cells from ebay) in home. If not why and if yes how. ...
0
votes
1answer
37 views

What is the experimental uncertainty of an ensemble measurement? [duplicate]

Let's say you measure the time it takes for 10 oscillations of a mass undergoing simple harmonic motion to within ± 0.01s, what is the uncertainty of the period of one oscillation?
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Optimal slit width in Young's double slit experiment

I'm trying to do Young's double slit experiment at home. Note that I don't have a laser, only a torch. I could get a bulb or use a candle though, if it helps I built the slits by cutting into a ...
11
votes
2answers
421 views

The secret behind the spinning, asymmetrically weighted, 2D disk-shaped top?

When you spin an asymmetrically weighted, 2D disk-shaped top, the heavy part actually rises to the top. Why is this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0SZZTBQmEs ...
2
votes
2answers
129 views

Can we have light through out the house with out light being switched on for all the time?

Optical fibres are used to transmit light from one place to the other along curved path in a more effective manner. The optical fibres consist of thousands of strands of a very fine quality glass or ...
17
votes
3answers
25k 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
24 views

Do I need the exact velocity when experimenting with sliding coins?

I'm doing a home experiment but it's not going very well. I'm pushing coins on a table. I'm taking the time for how long it takes coin A to hit coin B and then I divide it by the time between them ...
5
votes
3answers
310 views

Home experiment question

I want to make a home experiment where I roughly explain the phenomenon of water remaining in a straw if you close one end of the straw. So I'm thinking that the weight of the water is pulling it ...
0
votes
1answer
38 views

Finding a 1-Dimensional Mass Distribution

Past Discussion There have been a lot of questions and discussions regarding determining the mass distribution of various bodies through non-destructive purposes. Here are a few: Determination of ...
2
votes
2answers
95 views

Is a magnetic field affected by the presence of air?

Does air affect a magnetic field's ability to attract ferromagnets? If a magnetic field and a ferromagnet were placed in a vacuum would there be a better performance?
42
votes
5answers
7k views

Why does a candle blow out when we blow on it? Our breath is 16% oxygen and only 4% CO2

Don't say that a layer of carbon dioxide covers the flame, because our breath has more oxygen than carbon dioxide. Also, our breath does not cool the flame as it is itself warm. So what is happening ...
1
vote
1answer
57 views

Explanation request for flashes of light [closed]

I have observed what I believe to be the same phenomenon on two occasions and wanted to ask for possible explanations. Both times, I saw flashes of whitish light, near the ceiling of a room. They ...
1
vote
2answers
86 views

The best way to cool the teapot

My professor today in the class made us a question: "Lets say we have a teapot with water in it.The water is hot.Now we want to cool the water. Will it cool faster if we put an ice cube above the ...
0
votes
3answers
296 views

Why does the bathroom become hot after a bath?

I have noticed many times that whenever I enter into the bathroom just after someone else bathed the temperature inside it would be high. Is it that the body heat comes out when we pour a lot of ...
6
votes
1answer
611 views

How to calculate air velocity in a fan?

How to calculate air velocity in a fan and what data should I know ? So if I have a fan motor, fan blade and a battery, what data should I get from these items ? I think I will need to know the ...