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About eclark

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  1. Physics of Hot Air Balloons

    Hot air balloons are very fascinating mechanisms in that they allow humans to fly without physically flying. Hot air balloons consists of a basket used to carry people, an envelope (the top piece), and a burner which consists of several megawatts is also present. When heat is released from the burner, it creates buoyancy. This is because the hot air is less dense than the cooler air that surrounds it. This is known as Archimedes' principle, which states that any object regardless of its shape that is suspended in a fluid, is acted upon by an upward buoyant force equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by the object.
  2. Potato Phone Charger

    I have always wondered if the experiment you always see on T.V. is actually possible and after further research, I realized that it is possible to charge your phone with a potato. The reason this is able to happen is because the potato acts like an electrolyte. When a galvanized nail and copper are inserted into the potato, they act as electrodes. Atoms from the galvanized nail- which is made of zinc- dissolves into the potato as a positively charged ion. This leaves two negatively charged atoms behind. These electrons then pass through the wire connecting the two electrodes and his flow of electrons is what creates electrical current which charges your phone.
  3. Physics of Jet Packs

    It would be very cool to ride around using jet packs, but unfortunately some of Earth's physical properties limit our use of them. Unlike birds, humans are not aerodynamic meaning that it very hard to keep us afloat. To do this, we must solely rely on thrust and to generate this thrust, a large amount of fuel is needed. Unfortunately, the more fuel needed, the heavier the jet pack becomes. This requires more fuel to lift the weight and the problem just continues. Because of this dilemma, jet packs are not very practical and many last less than a minute in the air. In order to make them more efficient, scientists will have to find a way to make jet packs more fuel efficient.
  4. Physics of Credit Cards

    While at work the other day, I was extremely bored so I decided to think of blogpost ideas. During this time, I was starring at the credit card machine and I thought it would be interesting to learn the physics behind credit cards. Credit cards are an interesting system that uses a magnetic strip to store information. Credit cards use Faraday's Law which allows current to go through the coil in it. This current goes through simple amplification and this creates binary code. The signal is then read by the computer. This is a simplified idea of how credit cards work, but in the end Faraday's Law, Biot-Savart Law and Ohm's Law are all used in the creation of a credit card.
  5. Toothpick Star

    The toothpick star is an interesting experiment in which a person aligns 5 toothpicks broken in half into the shape of a star. The toothpicks must be closely put together like the image shown however and the halves must be connected by a small piece of toothpick. To make the toothpicks into the shape of a star, you must drop a droplet of water onto the center. Once this is done, the water will move into the toothpicks at the same velocity. This will cause the toothpicks to spread apart and mimic the shape a star as seen below. This occurs because capillary action causes water to be absorbed into the toothpicks. The water moves into section that was broken in half and continues to move outward all the way to the pointed tip. The capillary action inside of the toothpick causes the toothpicks to glide as they straighten.
  6. Northern Lights

    The northern lights also known as the aurora borealis is one of natures most beautiful phenomenons. Occurring in high latitude regions of the world near the magnetic poles, the northern lights are caused by high-energy charged particles from the Sun colliding with molecules in the Earth’s atmosphere. As solar wind passes Earth, Earth's magnetic field traps some of it. The electrons and ions that make up the wind travel towards the magnetic poles. The molecules that were already present in the Earth's upper hemisphere are now ionized because of the collision with the solar wind ions. They emit light by either regaining their missing electron or returning to their ground state.
  7. Popping Popcorn

    Popcorn- especially movie theater popcorn- is one of my favorite foods. Until now, I have never thought to explore the science behind popping popcorn kernels. The metamorphosis from a kernel to popcorn involves several physics concepts including thermodynamics and bio-mechanics. To start off, the kernel must heat to a temperature above 100 degrees Celsius. The water inside then turns to vapor and forces its way into the hard endosperm of the kernel. When this occurs, the inside becomes a molten mass. The pressure builds and builds until the shell explodes. As soon as the kernel bursts, the starch cools and a delicious snack is formed.
  8. The World's First Quad Cork 1800

    Looks interesting, I have always wanted to try skying
  9. The boost caboose

    It looks it would be fun to try driving.
  10. Yo-Yos

    I loved playing with yo-yos
  11. Space Engine

    That's really cool! If only we could do that in real life.
  12. Physics of Skydiving

    I have always been fascinated by the idea of skydiving, so I thought it would be interesting to learn the physics behind it. When a person skydives, they are accelerating downward do to the force of gravity. Simultaneously, the amount of air resistance increases as the faster the skydiver falls. Once the force of air resistance is as large as the force of gravity, the skydiver no longer accelerates because the force of gravity equals air resistance. This equality is known as terminal velocity. To decrease terminal velocity which ultimately allows the skydiver to arrive on the ground at a safe speed, a large cross sectional area is needed to oppose the force of gravity and increase air resistance. This is the reason that a parachute is required. The large cross sectional area of a parachute slows the terminal velocity down to a safe landing speed.
  13. Survival Hack (Crayon Candle)

    In the instance of an emergency and there are no flashlights or candles present, a crayon can be used as a candle. A crayon is similar to a candle in that both are made of a variety of waxes. The only difference is that is a crayon is enclosed in a paper tube while a candle has a wick at the center. The paper tubing of the crayon can be used as a wick which allows the fire to burn steadily down the crayon. When a candle is lit, heat travels at a remarkably fast velocity toward the wax body beneath. Wax has a low melting point, so it instantly turns into a hot liquid which in turn burns the tubing of the crayon. The wax vapor also catches light and burns high above the candle- hence the appearance of a flame. Conduction then carries heat down the body of the crayon to melt more wax. The crayon burns until all of the potential energy is converted into heat, light and chemical waste. This can last up to 30 minutes.
  14. Silver Egg Illusion

    The silver egg illusion is an experiment in which an egg is charged over a candle until it is completely covered in soot. Once the egg is completely covered, it should be dunked into a cup of water. The egg turns silver because the soot particles are hydrophobic so only the top part of the soot will be wet. The surface tension supports the water in between each grain of soot and a layer of air between the water and the soot forms. Because the surface of the water reflects light very well due to total internal reflection, the egg will end up appearing silver.
  15. Bowling

    I love to bowl even though I am horrible at it!

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