50+ IB Physics IA Ideas

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IB Physics HL IA Ideas

1.) How does the diameter of the pendulum wire affect the damping constant of the pendulum?

Experimental Setup:

A pendulum setup is made in accordance with the constant variables. The light gate is placed in a way where the pendulum passes between the edges of it without disturbance. A data logger collects the data as the pendulum passes between the light gate for 90 seconds. Using this data, you will be able to calculate the damping constant.

Independent Variables:

Diameter of the pendulum wire

Constant Variables:

Mass of mass hanger, Length of wire, Initial place from which the pendulum was released (angle at which it was released from) and person letting go of the mass hanger.

Dependent Variables:

The velocity of the pendulum for 90 seconds

2.) Experimental Investigation of Torricelli’s Law?

Experimental Setup:

There is a cylindrical container, a funnel, a ruler placed horizontally at a specific height under the orifice and a ruler to measure the height of the water in the cylindrical container. The setup is set in a way to allow simultaneous measurements of both the speed of the existing water and the change of the height of the level of water in the container. The speed of the water is obtained implicitly since by measuring the distance the water exiting travels over a period of time yields the speed of the water.

Independent Variables:

Height of the empty space in the bottle

Controlled Variables:

Distance from orifice to the ground, Temperature of water, Medium of liquid, Size of orifice

Dependent Variables:

Horizontal distance from the Orifice

3.) Investigating the relationship between the pressure of a soccer ball and its rebound height

Experimental Setup:

Using a meter scale, the drop height for the soccer ball on the wall is marked. One person will drop the soccer ball from this constant height as the pressure of the ball varies. Once it drops, you will have to record a video to see how far up the ball bounces back. This is your dependent variable. Many trials can be taken to obtain an average value.

Independent Variables:

Pressure of the ball

Constant Variables:

The drop height of the soccer ball, the surface the ball is dropped on to, environmental conditions like wind, temperature and air pressure

Dependent Variables:

Bounce height of the soccer ball

4.) Relationship between Brewster’s Angle and Refractive Index

Experimental Setup:

The purpose of this exploration is to observe how the Brewster’s angle changes in accordance to different refractive indices. The indices were varied using different masses of white sugar dissolved in tap water. A constant wavelength of light was also used to see how the Brewster’s angle varied proportionally to the changing refractive index. The set-up is inspired by a non-invasive form of medical testing for the concentration of glucose in blood by measuring the refractive index in the aqueous humor of the eye.

Independent Variables:

Different masses of white sugar

Constant Variables:

Wavelength of the light, Amount of tap water

Dependent Variables:

Brewster’s Angle, Refractive Index

5.) Investigating power in a human motion using the double pendulum mechanism

Experimental Setup:

In this experiment, you will be able to find the optimum angle and lengths in which the hand should be for maximum power delivery. However, this would be more of an investigation. A double pendulum is constructed using wood to represent the hand. By changing the angle of pendulum 1 the final power produced by that motion changes. Additionally, the length of both pendulums will also change because not everyone’s hand measurements are the same. Furthermore, a simulation software will also be used to compare the results.

Independent Variables:

The initial angle of Pendulum 1, Length ratio of both pendulums (L1/L2)

Dependent Variables:

Time period (s) in the first cycle, Maximum Kinetic Energy (Joules) in the first cycle, Maximum Power (J s-1) delivered in the first cycle

6.) To stimulate the kinetic theory of gasses to study the distribution of velocities and its variation with temperature

Experimental Setup:

Write a code to simulate motion of gas molecules in a box by using the Maxwell Boltzmann distribution function to find velocity distribution at various temperatures.

Independent Variables:

Temperature, number of particles/molecules

Constant Variables:

Dimension of the box, number of iterations

Dependent Variables:

Velocity distribution

7.) To calculate the coefficient of friction by sliding a box down a ramp

Experimental Setup:

A long wooden plank with a uniformly smooth surface(like glass) is placed slanted on a vertical Support with a box sliding down. The distance traveled by the box and and the time taken is measured to calculate the coefficient of friction of the smooth surface

Independent Variables:

Length of the plank, surface

Controlled Variables:

Angle of tilt of the ramp, air resistance

Dependent Variables:

Time taken

8.) To calculate acceleration due to gravity by dropping a magnet through a pipe

Experimental Setup:

Take a pipe and coil a wire around it at a distance apart. Now connect a microammeter to both ends of the wire to measure the current in the coil when the magnet passes through it. Measure the time between the current induced in both the coils which can be utilized to find the acceleration due to gravity.

Independent Variables:

Distance between the coil

Constant Variables:

Number of turns in the coil, strength of the magnet

Dependent Variables:

Time taken for the magnet to pass through both the coils.

9.) To identify the refractive index of a liquid by measuring the apparent shift in the image

Experimental Setup:

A transparent beaker with the desired liquid filled up. Now immerse a metal rod in the liquid and you will observe an apparent shift in the image of the rod which can be measured to calculate refractive index of the fluid

Independent Variables:

Type of fluid

Constant Variables:

Temperature, material of the beaker, thickness of the rod

Dependent Variables:

Shift of the image

10.) Effect on the double slit interference pattern on introducing a thin film

Experimental Setup:

After setting up a young’s double slit experiment when we observe an interference pattern on the screen we can manipulate the pattern by introducing thin films of varying widths in front of one of the slits which will in turn move the interference pattern on the screen because of the change in path difference of the interfering waves

Independent Variables:

Thickness of the film, refractive index of the thin film

Constant Variables:

Distance between slits and screen, separation of the slits, wavelength of the light source

Dependent Variables:

Shift of the interfering pattern

11.) To calculate tension on a string using melde’s apparatus

Experimental Setup:

Using Melde’s apparatus we can set up a standing wave in a string of different materials which can be used to measure the wavelength of the interfering wave.The wavelength can then be used to deduce speed of the wave in the string which in turn helps us to measure tension in the string.

Independent Variables:

Frequency of the wave, material of the string

Constant Variables:

Length of the string

Dependent Variables:

Wavelength of the standing wave

12.) To study efficiency of a electric motor with varying temperature

Experimental Setup:

Set up an electric motor to convert electric current into mechanical work in a chamber and then study efficiency of the motor by lifting weights at varying temperatures. Note down the time taken to lift a fixed distance and use it to measure the performance efficiency of the motor

Independent Variables:

Temperature at which the experiment is done

Controlled Variables:

Type of motor, distance lifted

Dependent Variables:

Time taken to lift the weights through the same distance at different temperature

13.) Temperature dependence of resistance made up of metal and semiconductor

Experimental Setup:

Connect the sample with a voltage supply with ammeter and voltage connected across the sample to measure the current flowing through the sample and potential difference across the sample. After waterproofing the sample, immerse the sample in a beaker containing water. Start heating the water and measure the variation of voltage and current at different temperatures. Repeat the same for the other samples as well

Independent Variables:

Voltage applied, Temperature of the water

Constant Variables:

Thickness of the insulation

Dependent Variables:

Current measured

14.) To verify the Stefan Boltzmann law and further calculating the Stefan’s constant

Experimental Setup:

We use an Incandescent Bulb with Tungsten filament and pass current through it and as the amount of current increases, the filament heats up and temperature of the bulb increases as well

Independent Variables:

Current, voltage

Constant Variables:
Dependent Variables:

Resistance of the filament

15.) Effect of density on the refractive index of a colloidal solution

Experimental Setup:

Creating colloidal solutions of two immiscible substances such as oil and water and altering the density with different types of oil and measuring the refractive index caused by the solution when light of a certain intensity is incident upon the solution

Independent Variables:

  • Density of oil
  • Different types of oil
Dependent Variables:

Refractive index

16.) To what extent does temperature affect a rubber band’s propulsion

Experimental Setup:

Heating rubber bands of the same kind and measuring the distance travelled by an object such as paper once propelled from the rubber band

Independent Variables:

Temperature

Dependent Variables:

Propulsion due to rubber band

17.) Effect of smoothness of a surface on the momentum of a object and resulting impulse due to collision with a stationary object

Experimental Setup:

Rolling a ball or spherical object across various surfaces of different textures and calculating the impulse occurring when colliding with a stationary object of the same kind

Independent Variables:

Smoothness of a surface

Dependent Variables:

Momentum of an object
Impulse

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IB Physics SL IA Ideas

1.) How does the temperature of a bouncy ball affect the coefficient of restitution?

Experimental Setup:

A launch platform is made from which the bouncy ball is dropped from. Once it is dropped, a video is shot of its movement. Using the video, the rebound height is observed using the graph sheet placed next to it. To heat the ball, it is kept in water baths inside a plastic bag.

Independent Variables:

Temperature of Bouncy ball

Control Variables:

Drop height of ball, Mass and radius of the ball, The surface on which the ball is dropped

Dependent Variables:

COR: Ratio of the height of a ball after it bounces to the height of the ball before it bounces

2.) The relationship between basketball’s internal air pressure and its elasticity

Experimental Setup:

A motion sensor is used to detect the drop of the ball with varied pressures of the basketball

Independent Variables:

Air pressure inside the ball

Constant variables:

Temperature of the ball, volume of the ball, surface of the collision, type of the ball

Dependent Variables:

Height of the first bounce after the drop

3.) Effect of salinity on specific heat capacity

Experimental Setup:

To find the specific heat capacity of the water (saline), an experiment is set up using a spirit burner. This in turn will allow you to burn a necessary amount of ethanol to find the temperature change of said ethanol along with the enthalpy change of combustion of ethanol too.

Independent Variables:

Concentration of the salt in the solution

Constant Variables:

Initial mass of alcohol that is put in the spirit burner, Volume of water used, Distance between the burner and the calorimeter, Thickness of the calorimeter

Dependent Variables:

Specific heat capacity of the solution

4.) How does the density of water affect single slit diffraction patterns of waves?

Experimental Setup:

Set up an experiment accordingly. Pour a solution into the ripple tank container and turn on the ripple motor with a set frequency and lamp. Analyze the diffraction of the waves by measuring the wavelength and the diffraction angle.

Independent Variables:

Density of water solution

Constant Variables:

Frequency of wave, Temperature of solution

Dependent Variables:

Diffraction patterns

5.) How does the height and materials of a ramp affect the time taken for a cylinder to roll down the ramp? Investigating static friction coefficients?

Experimental Setup:

A cylinder is rolled down a ramp of different heights first. Whichever height allows the cylinder to take the least time to reach the end of the ramp, that height is used as a constant for when the material of the surface of the ramp is varied.

Independent Variables:

Height of the ramp, materials of the surface of the ramp

Constant Variables:

‘Mass and dimensions of the cylinder, length of the ramp

Dependent Variables:

Static friction coefficient

6.) To find the temperature dependence of resonant frequency of a wine glass

Experimental Setup:

A wine glass is filled up with water and three temperature probing devices are used to measure surface temperature of the wine glass at three different spots. A sound is created by rotating your finger around the rim of the glass frequency of which is measured on a FFT graph on logger pro software using a microphone. The temperature of the liquid can be varied by either using ice or a water heater.

Independent Variables:

Temperature of water

Control Variables:

Material of glass, height of the fluid in the wine glass

Dependent Variables:

Frequency of the sound produced

7.) Variation of terminal velocity with height of release

Experimental Setup:

Drop a coffee filter from heights > 2m and measure its velocity in the last 10cm of fall using motion sensors or video or camera or manually using a stopwatch.

Independent Variables:

Height of drop

Constant variables:

Wind conditions, dimensions of the coffee filter

Dependent Variables:

Time taken for fall

8.) To find the specific energy of different material

Experimental Setup:

Collect different samples of flammable substances and burn them under supervised conditions. Use the heat produced to boil water.

Independent Variables:

Fuel type

Constant Variables:

Amount of fuel and water

Dependent Variables:

Temperature increase after a fixed time interval

9.) To calculate the spring constant by using conservation of energy

Experimental Setup:

Setup a smooth platform with vertical support to fix a spring. Take a small wooden box and compress the spring using it and when you leave it the box will fly off and initial velocity can measured using video camera or motion sensors

Independent Variables:

Compression of the spring

Constant Variables:

Mass of the box, spring type, smoothness of the surface

Dependent Variables:

Initial velocity of the box

10.) Effect of mass on falling object Investigating static friction coefficients

Experimental Setup:

Drop object of different masses from the same height and measure the time taken for the fall

Independent Variables:

Mass of the object

Constant Variables:

Height of drop

Dependent Variables:

Time taken for the fall

11.) To study the effect of the time period of a pendulum on the amplitude of oscillation

Experimental Setup:

Measure time period of oscillation of a pendulum at different amplitudes for small angles

Independent Variables:

Initial amplitude

Control Variables:

Length of the pendulum, mass of the bob

Dependent Variables:

Time period of oscillation

12.) Effect of distance at which force is applied on the bending of a cantilever beam

Experimental Setup:

Support a beam horizontally on a table with a portion of it suspended out of the table’s edge with no support below. Now hang a mass on the suspended end of the beam using a string at a different distance from the table edge and measure the deflection/bending of the beam.

Independent Variables:

Distance at which mass is suspended from the point of contact

Constant variables:

Mass placed, material of beam, suspended length of the beam, length of string attached to the mass

Dependent Variables:

Maximum deflection of the cantilever

13.) Change in density of a fluid with temperature

Experimental Setup:

Measure and study the variation of density of fluids with temperature(try honey, water and coffee)

Independent Variables:

Mass of the fluid and temperature

Constant Variables:

Method of heating

Dependent Variables:

Volume of the fluid

14.) Effect of headwind on a airplane model

Experimental Setup:

Fly a paper airplane and measure the variation of landing distance in presence of headwinds created by an electrical fan or manual winds of varying intensity.

Independent Variables:

Wind speeds and direction

Constant Variables:

Shape and size of the plane, launch speed

Dependent Variables:

Distance of flight

15.) To find the angle of maximum range in a projectile motion of a ball or a javelin throw

Experimental Setup:

Launch a ball or throw a javelin at multiple angles with the same velocity and measure the range covered at different angles preferably using a simulation.

Independent Variables:

Mass of the Angle of throw

Constant Variables:

Velocity of throw, wind conditions

Dependent Variables:

Range/horizontal distance covered

16.) To what extent does salinity affect the viscosity of water

Experimental Setup:

Taking various samples of water with different concentrations of salt and measuring the viscosity of the solution utilising capillary viscometers

Independent Variables:

Salt concentration of salt-water solution

Dependent Variables:

Viscosity of the solution

17.) To what extent does the impurity of a solution affect its specific heat capacity(SL)

Experimental Setup:

Changing the purity of a solution such as water and sugar and measuring the specific heat capacity of each solution and analysing the effect of this phenomena

Independent Variables:

Concentration of sugar

Dependent Variables:

Specific Heat Capacity

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