16 May 2006

More Photos from Demo Lab

The demo lab has temporary shifted to the year 1 lab, since the latter is not in use during the holidays, and has a much larger space to manoeuvre. Which is good news for me, since that gives me more space to take my photos.

Here are some experiments other than the uniquely amazing superconductor:

Bubbles! The primary subject of this experiment is surface science. Bubble experiments are the perfect tool for demonstrating the fact that in nature, the tendancy is to minimise surface area, and hence surface tension. That's why bubbles take the shape of a sphere. With two rings, it is difficult but possible to create a catenoid.

This is an electrostatic experiment. There is a hand-wound generator which is connected to the lower and upper plate, resulting in a potential difference between both plates. The aluminium pellets will have the charge of the lower plate and, when the potential difference is high enough, jump up and touch the upper plate. Upon touching, it will discharge and gain the charge of the upper plate before dropping back down. The overall result is the aluminium pellets "dancing" inside this container.

Ah yes! The plasma lamp. The explanation for this is pretty complicated, but the essence is that the core is of a high alternating voltage. This sets up a high electric field, which will ionise the low pressure gas (usually a noble gas) and thus giving off light. Since the human body is a conductor, putting one's hand close to or on the glass surface will "ground" the electric field.

Ooo... slinky! I believe this serves to demonstrate conservation of momentum, in which when the slinky is set to "hop" in one direction, it will continue in that direction. This is evident when you think of how a slinky can hop down the stairs. It's a bit hard to see here, but if you look closely, the slinky is actually in the act of falling. Beautiful, eh?

Anyway, I'm quite satisfied with my camera. I still had to get used to its features though, but so far I'm happy with what I can do.

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