Science Projects on Kinematics

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Kinematics represents a branch of mechanics describing the motion of objects determining work, power, energy and gravity. Most science fair projects dealing with kinematics work within the scope of physics, and try to determine the relationship of the motion with outside forces. Experiments mathematically break down what is happening even if the researcher does not know why it happened.

Gravity and Acceleration

Galileo ran experiments about gravity and wanted to calculate the acceleration due to gravity. Build a grooved ramp at whatever length you like. Choose balls that will fit on the ramp you have built, preferably metal or some type with weight, not lightweight such as tennis balls. Release the balls at the top of the ramp and time how long it takes them to roll to the bottom. The grooves on the ramp allow you to adjust the height on the piece holding up the ramp. Repeat each height of the ramp three or more times for statistical accuracy. Run the experiment with longer and shorter ramps as well so you can have a thorough amount of data to study. Plot your results on a graph to determine the relationship. As this experiment existed prior to high tech devices, it does not take into account friction.

Speed

An easy experiment working with kinematics in a single dimension determines the speed of a walking person based on how long the stride is of that person. Use different subjects to determine if longer legged people tend to walk faster. Compare the relationship of each stride length to the length of the legs. As you monitor people, using a stop watch to determine how quickly each subject walks; plot your results. One axis will show the length of stride and the other will show the speed of the person. In the end you can see if you can predict how fast a person is likely to walk based on the length of legs or stride.

Flight

Examine kinematics in two dimensions. Measuring ball flight works to showcase the mathematical principles versus the reality of the event. Comparing the actual flight of a baseball or soccer ball to see if it matches its empirical trajectory helps determine outside factors such as wind. Take a series of photos of a person throwing or kicking a ball. Measure the change in height from frame to frame to determine the trajectory of the ball. Then use the initial angle and velocity to determine what the empirical trajectory should be. Compare the results to see how closely the ball followed that trajectory. If it did not then why not?

Sound Waves

How you hear sound is directly related to how the waves move through the air and then how your ear interprets the noise. By testing the vibration of different materials you can see how the length of the waves directly relates to the sound the article makes. This can be done by using things such as guitar strings and tuning forks so it is easy to visualize the vibration of the sound. You should also study objects that do not really vibrate, here you will find the lack of continued vibration makes for only a sudden, short sound. By comparing the way the objects vibrate to the sounds the objects make you can plot how wave length affects the sound you hear.

References

About the Author

Pharaba Witt has worked as a writer in Los Angeles for more than 10 years. She has written for websites such as USA Today, Red Beacon, LIVESTRONG, WiseGeek, Web Series Network, Nursing Daily and major film studios. When not traveling she enjoys outdoor activities such as backpacking, snowboarding, ice climbing and scuba diving. She is constantly researching equipment and seeking new challenges.

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