Thursday, July 15, 2010

Day 8- As the Earth Spins

Today we had to use the Tetrix kit to demonstrate a scientific concept. After a great deal of brainstorming, we decided to create a Foucault pendulum, and use a rotating motor to show how the rotation of the earth causes the pendulum's path to change over time.

With this plan in mind, we began creating a base and arch to suspend the pendulum. With any project, each aspect was redesigned multiple times. The base went from triangular to square, and the width of the arch changed to accommodate the wide path of the pendulum.

For the pendulum itself, we used this weighted block hung on a length of sewing thread. We rapidly discovered that the thread wasn't durable enough to hold the weight for a significant amount of time, so we will be changing the thread to fishing wire tomorrow.

We used a simple program that told the motor to run at the lowest power possible (8). We're also attempting to use and program an encoder to slow down the motor, putting the angular speed at 24 seconds per rotation (representing the 24 hours per rotation of the earth). However, this is still a work in progress. By the end of the day, this was our completed project:

We tried to take a video of it in motion, but the sewing thread broke! So, it's clear that tomorrow we'll need to make some slight alterations to both the apparatus and program to successfully represent the Foucault pendulum.

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