While doing some exploring on the internet, I stumbled across this video that does a pretty decent job of explaining a crazy pool vortex that forms when you push a plate through pool water. The woman in the video lists some examples of vortexes which include water going down a drain, hurricanes, tornadoes, and air going over a plane. In the example with the plate, the difference in velocity between the water moving with the plate and the stationary water next to it causes a shear force and makes
When you pull up to the intersection to turn onto my street, the traffic light is able to detect that my car has pulled up. Have you ever wondered how this is possible? I thought I'd explore more into this capability. The most common method is the use of an inductive loop which is a simple coil of wire within the surface of the road. https://auto.howstuffworks.com/car-driving-safety/safety-regulatory-devices/question234.htm This website gives a great example of how this process works.
Over the weekend, the movie the Wizard of Oz was playing on TV and my mother was reminiscing about how she was so mesmerized by the colorful movie when she first saw it. This inspired me to do some more research on what is commonly (but mistakenly) thought of as the first movie made in color and how it was filmed.
The Wizard of Oz was filmed in Technicolor, which was also the name of a corporation developed by two physics professors from MIT. An article from the MIT Technology Review t
In this second addition of physics in winter, I will explore the physics behind skiing. Three popular skiing events that physics plays a large role in include alpine or downhill skiing, Nordic or cross country skiing, and ski jumping. Each sport can be manipulated using physics to achieve faster speeds and greater results.
In alpine skiing, there are several elements of physics that come into play. On a most basic level, downhill skiing involves the conversion of potential energy at the top
At this time of year, when the weather gets colder and the ground is covered with snow and ice, there are many activities that people take part in that physics plays a crucial role in. These festivities include skiing, sledding, and skating as well as even simpler things like driving on icy roads and cutting down your Christmas tree. So in spirit of the holidays, I thought I would explore the physics behind some of these activities in a series of winter blog posts. In my first post, I will be ex
Understanding the physics behind rotational motion can be very challenging and is usually a unit I have to spend more time on to be able to comprehend. But fidget spinners on the other hand are super simple! So I figured why not try to understand something complicated with something a little more basic. One topic about rotational motion that is used a lot when talking about a car breaking is the difference between sliding friction and rolling friction. Rolling friction is much smaller in value t
As I looked into other Olympic winter sports for my third edition of physics in winter, I thought I might explore the physics behind curling a little but more in depth. At first when you consider curling, you automatically think of friction and how that plays a large role in where the stones land during competition. I also thought about conservation of momentum because when the stones knock into one another, it is pretty clear to see that momentum is conserved when one block moving with some ini
This week on Wednesday, I had to get an MRI for my knee to make sure everything was ok after I injured myself playing soccer a couple weeks earlier. While I was there, I was very curious about how the whole process worked and how it relates to physics so I did some research and here is what I found.
In an article from medicalnewstoday.com titled MRI Scans: All You Need To Know by Peter Lam, I learned that "an MRI scanner contains two powerful magnets" and "upon entering an MRI scanner, the
Stranger Things is a popular show on Netflix set in the 80's following the lives of three young boys as they try to rescue their friend Will from "the upside down." Here is a clip of the boys science teacher explaining it a little:
Throughout the show, the upside down is described as a parallel universe, or an alternate dimension. However, as you dive deeper into the physics behind these concepts, there is perhaps a better way to describe the upside down. According to the followin
On Monday during physics class, we were asked to create a “top” that would spin for a long period of time. The materials we were given included two small paper plates, a pencil, six pennies, and tape. At the end of the lab experiment, we were asked to answer the following questions in a blog post:
How did today's opening activity relate to the engineering design process?
The engineering design process involves designing, building, and testing something. This relates to what we did in c
Solar street lights are becoming increasingly popular as a green alternative because they are a better value for their cost, have lower maintenance, and easier installation. But have you ever wondered how these technological advancements function? What powers it and how does it turn on at night? I decided to look into this and examine the circuits behind the lighting of a street lamp.
Over the thanksgiving break, I watched one of my favorite movies, Talladega Nights. The movie is about a race car driver and one of the moves that he frequently uses to win is called the slingshot. In this maneuver, the driver would get really close behind his teammate to draft up speed and be able to pass the car in front of them. At first I didn't understand how this worked, but I dived into some of the physics behind it to get a better understanding. The slingshot maneuver, which is also know
Popcorn is probably my favorite snack ever. But how does a small hard kernel turn into this fluffy, buttery treat? Here is what I learned:
Popcorn kernels have a hard shell on the outside, but on the inside there is moisture and starch. Thus when you put a bag of popcorn in the microwave, the kernels inside start to heat up and the moisture within the kernels turns into steam. The steam then tries to escape, but is blocked by the hard outer shell. The pressure that builds up from the s
Many times during our class, our physics teacher, Mr. Fullerton, has said how he would love to sit in on one of Mr. Guercio's classes one day because it seems like it would be really interesting. I found this humorous, but I never expected that physics would make its way into my English classroom in a completely different way.
As I walked into Mr. Guercio's room the other day, the door started slowly closing on me despite the fact that it had a brick in front of it being used for a doorsto
Do you know how to tell the difference between hard boiled eggs and raw eggs without cracking them open? A common method for determining the difference is spinning the eggs on a table. If you do this, you will notice that the hard boiled egg will spin faster and then raw egg will slowly wobble around. This can be explained by simple physics. In a raw egg, their are different substances inside that each have a different inertia. Thus when a torque is applied to the egg, the substances rotate at d
As a part of my morning routine, I usually straighten my hair with the Paul Mitchell express ion smooth hair straightener (sounds fancy I know) that can heat up to 410 degrees Fahrenheit in 60 seconds. This is a pretty incredible feat that certainly makes my life easier, but I thought I'd explore a little more behind the straightener's ability. After doing some research, I found that the straightener has a rated wattage of 40W and the voltage of American outlets is 120V. After doing some calcula
I have recently gotten into the tv series Game of Thrones (which is an amazing show that I would highly recommend) and I have picked up on a couple different aspects that relate to the world of physics. While some elements of the story are clearly impossible in our world, like a 700 foot high wall 300 miles long that is made out of solid ice, it is cool to note some other elements of the show that involve basic physics. For example, you often see catapults which involves the use of torque and ro
Have you ever seen a Galileo Thermometer? They are a pretty cool way of telling what the temperature is and it also serves as a cool decoration for your home. The thermometer has little glass bubbles with different color liquid inside of them. Each little bubble has a tag on them with a different reading of the temperature. You read a Galileo thermometer by reading the tag on the lowest bubble that is still floating. The way the thermometer works to change to different temperatures involves a bi
Flight is a magnificent natural ability of birds and what seems like a tremendous accomplishment for man-made aircraft's that average at a weight of over 300 tons. So I thought I would explore more into this amazing ability and the physics behind it. Here is what I learned.
In order to fly, a bird or a plane must overcome both the force of gravity and drag forces as it is moving through the air. The force that opposes weight is known as lift and the force that opposes drag is called thrust. Li
Here I am again, at the end of the quarter, rushing to finish up blog posts. But that's not to say that nothing has changed. When this quarter first started out, for the first four weeks, I managed to keep up with blog posts and do one over each weekend. However, as time went on and I got further away from my disciplined state of mind, I began to fall back into my old habit of neglecting blog posts. That's not to say that I didn't have some roadblocks along the way that prevented me from doing b
In class we learned about how electric motors work and we talked about a couple examples of things with electric motors such as your air conditioning. To review, moving charges in magnetic fields experience forces. When the charges move perpendicular to the magnetic field, they experience a force which is applied to the wire. With electric motors, moving charges are sent through a loop of wire which creates motion when you examine the forces acting on the wire. There are several everyday househo
I love Disney Pixar's movie Up for lots of different reasons, especially for its very imaginative and fun story line. But have you ever wondered how many balloons it would actually take to lift Carl's house? Well if you consider that about 1 liter of helium can lift one gram, then the average balloon that holds 14 liters can lift about 14 grams. So if I wanted to buy enough balloons to lift myself off the ground, that would require about 3,715 balloons. If we suppose that it costs one dollar to
My weekends are usually spent working at Wegmans where people most often pay using a credit card. The new chip readers don’t always work and people always wish they could just go back to the old method of swiping. Interestingly enough, there is a significant amount of physics behind the simple swipe payment that I thought it might be interesting to explore.
To get a basic understanding of how a credit card works, you can think of the black strip on the back of the card as a strip of magnets
Have you ever wondered what it would take to break a trampoline? Well in a video from How Ridiculous the YouTubers explored which would prevail a bowling ball or a trampoline. The video is pretty cool to watch and they do some fun shots in slow motion too. However, there is also a lot you can learn from their experiment.
You can analyze the velocity of the bowling ball as it hits the trampoline using physics to find that its final velocity is 29.7 m/s. You can also analyze the fo
As we approach the end of the first quarter, it was a bit of a scramble to get all of my blog posts done. First quarter is always rough for me because it is very busy and hectic; nonetheless, I neglected doing blog posts and held off until the last moment possible to complete them. I regret this decision now that it has come to the final hour. I think it would greatly benefit me to try to work on one blog post each weekend so that I can stay on track and not have to cram at the very end. Over th
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