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Undergraduate Research Showcase

Jacob Brooks, 2014 High Point University Research and Creative Works Symposium


Using vPython Modeling to Design the Magnetics for an Artificial Cilia Platform
Poster at the 2014 High Point University Research and Creative Works Symposium

We developed a vPython computational model of a biomimetic cilia array in which magnetic cilia respond dynamically to the changing magnetic field generated by a moving magnet. This model was used to inform experimental setup for data collection using biomimetic cilia arrays and permanent magnets.

Junjie Liao, Amiras Simeonides, 2014 High Point University Research and Creative Works Symposium


Framed: Physics in Non-Inertial Reference Frames
Poster at the 2014 High Point University Research and Creative Works Symposium

This project demonstrates the concept of fictitious forces, which are apparent forces observed from an accelerating reference frame. We captured video from non-inertial reference frames and analyzed it to determine mathematical models for each fictitious force. We then used these models to write simulations of each force in VPython.

Ben May, Stephanie Pettit, 2014 High Point University Research and Creative Works Symposium


Emmy Noether: Contributions as a Mathematician and Physicist
Poster at the 2014 High Point University Research and Creative Works Symposium

Emmy Noether has made considerable contributions to mathematics and physics through her research and theorems. By analyzing her life and work, we provide an in-depth look at developing theorems and making mathematical discoveries as well as look into the expansions that have been made beyond her work and describe how they affect mathematics today.new variable stars. Here we present the new variables that we have found.

Stephen Vultaggio, 2014 High Point University Research and Creative Works Symposium


A Survey for Pulsating Hot Subdwarf Stars with SKYNET
Contributed Oral Presentation at the 2014 High Point University Research and Creative Works Symposium

Hot subdwarf stars are one of the least understood stages of stellar evolution. Some show pulsations that help reveal their structure and future evolution. We are currently monitoring several subdwarfs with robotic telescopes in Chile to discover new variable stars. Here we present the new variables that we have found.

Matthew Carnaghi, Spring 2014 NCS-AAPT Meeting


Computational Model of a Weak Spring in Uniform Circular Motion
Contributed Oral Presentation at the Spring 2014 NCS-AAPT Meeting in Boone, North Carolina

A computational model of a weak spring spinning in a circle has been written using Easy Java Simulations (EJS). The model calculates the spring extension in its quasi-static state. The model takes into account the spring mass, spring constant, rate of rotation, air resistance, and gravity. The model demonstrates the Principle of Locality. When the center of the spring is released, the outer end of the spring continues to move on its original circular path. This continues until a wave from the released end makes its way to the outer end. This phenomenon has been seen in real physical systems and was the motivation for making the computer model. The basic math behind the model will be covered and the model itself will be demonstrated under different initial conditions.

Simeon Simeonides, Junjie Liao, Spring 2014 NCS-AAPT Meeting


Physics in Non-Inertial Reference Frames
Poster at the Spring 2014 NCS-AAPT Meeting in Boone, North Carolina

This project focused on creating classroom-friendly videos of motion in non-inertial reference frames where fictitious forces are required in order to apply Newton's laws. To explore motion in a linearly accelerating frame, we attached a camera to a fancart which accelerated down a track, and we recorded video of a neighboring fan cart accelerating down a parallel track at a lower rate. To explore motion in a rotating frame, we attached a camera to a rotating turntable and rolled a steel ball across the turntable. We collected data on the ball's motion from one video camera in the rotating reference frame and from a second camera in the lab frame. We analyzed the videos from each experiment using the video analysis software Tracker to determine mathematical models for each force. We created simulations of the motion in each frame in VPython. Results from both the video analysis and the corresponding computational models will be compared and discussed.

Jacob Brooks, National Conference on Undergraduate Research 2014


Using VPython Modeling to Design the Magnetics for an Artificial Cilia Platform
Poster at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research in Lexington, Kentucky

Cilia are a biological structure found in a variety of locations in the human body, including the brain, lungs, and kidneys. These cilia oscillate in a metachronal pattern, which causes a traveling wave to propagate through the cilia, moving fluids throughout the body. Improper cilia movement and function can cause seriously impair health and contribute to a variety of ciliopathies, including primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) and nephronophthisis (which causes kidney failure). Additionally, cilia malfunction can affect embryonic development and left-right asymmetry determination in humans. As cilia drive fluids to one side continuously, they initiate asymmetrical development. Metachronal wave patterns in cilia result in fluid flow, and to increase our understanding of the effect of the metachronal wave patterns, we are utilizing both a computer simulation and biomimetic cilia system. We hope to investigate cilia beat amplitude and frequency with an array of artificial cilia, where each cilium is a polymer rod with its upper portion surrounded by a magnetic tube. These cilia respond to the magnetic field from a permanent magnet moving above them. To construct a magnetic setup in our biomimetic system that results in metachronal waves arising in the cilia array, we developed a VPython computer program that simulates changing magnetic fields and the resulting cilia response. The program assumes artificial cilia align with the magnetic field, allowing us to explore a variety of magnet configurations to understand beat patterns before exploring the artificial system experimentally. The program outputs the tilt angle for each cilium, magnet position, and net magnetic field at each cilium location, as well as a 3-D visual model of the system. This output is used to inform our experiment, and results of the simulation and progress in the experimental investigation will both be discussed.

Stephen Vultaggio, 223rd American Astronomical Society Meeting


A Photometric Survey for Rapidly-Pulsating Hot Subdwarf Stars with SKYNET
Poster at the 223rd American Astronomical Society Meeting in Washington, D.C.

Hot subdwarf B stars (sdBs) are evolved stellar objects with high effective temperatures and large surface gravities. Theory shows that these stars were once red giants that were stripped of their outer H envelopes. How this stripping occurs is uncertain, although observations show binary interactions probably play a major role in this process. A small fraction of sdB stars exhibit rapid photometric oscillations; such pulsations are excellent tools for unraveling the structure and future evolution of these stars. We are currently surveying known sdB stars with the SKYNET telescope network to discover new pulsators. Here we discuss the details of our survey and present a handful of new variables that we have found.

Nikki Sanford, 2014 AAPT Winter Meeting


SPS Mather Internship: US House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
Invited Oral Presentation at the 2014 AAPT Winter Meeting in Orlando, Florida

As a Society of Physics Student Mather Intern, I worked in the US House of Representatives' Committee on Science Space and Technology. Nobel Laureate Physicist, Dr. John Mather, created this program to promote awareness of science policy among young physicists. In the Science Committee, I was directly involved in the legislative process through research projects, working with staff, and attending committee hearings and markups. I will discuss my experiences on Capitol Hill and interactions with Congressmen, staff, and experts in the scientific community. A physics/scientific background, along with opportunities from this SPS Internship with Congress has been extremely applicable and beneficial to my future career path and current studies at William and Mary Law School.

Kevin Sanders, 2014 AAPT Winter Meeting


Incorporating Data Visualization into ZENODO
Contributed Oral Presentation at the 2014 AAPT Winter Meeting in Orlando, Florida

ZENODO is a research hosting website made for all disciplines. It is built on the idea of all research shared, no matter the subject, no matter the status of the researcher. ZENODO was developed alongside and on top of INVENIO, a digital library software suite, produced by the Digital Library Technology group at CERN. This talk will cover some of the technologies that came into play, as well as my role of beginning to incorporate data visualization into the website during my time spent at CERN through the University of Michigan REU.

Jacob Brooks, 2014 AAPT Winter Meeting


Measuring and Modeling a Boleadora
Poster at the 2014 AAPT Winter Meeting in Orlando, Florida

The effects of the throwing technique on the motion of a boleadora in flight were investigated. The boleadora is an ancient hunting weapon made of three individual masses connected by rope to a common knot. The dynamics of the boleadora depend on whether it is thrown by the knot or by one of the masses. A computational model was developed for each throwing technique. Predictions of the models were compared to results from 3D video analysis. The models and results from video analysis for the two throwing techniques will be presented.

Matthew Carnaghi, 2014 AAPT Winter Meeting


Springs Released From Uniform Circular Motion - The Slinky Drop Extended
Poster at the 2014 AAPT Winter Meeting in Orlando, Florida

The path of a spring released from uniform circular motion was investigated and compared to a computational model. This study is an extension of the "Slinky drop" experiment, which consists of holding the top of a SlinkyTM above the ground, allowing it to stretch due to the gravitational force, and releasing it from rest. For the falling slinky the bottom portion of the slinky remains stationary until the slinky collapses. Similarly, for a spring in uniform circular motion, the spring is not uniformly stretched but is most stretched near the center of the circle. When released, it is expected that the furthest end of the spring will continue in uniform circular motion until the spring has collapsed. Video analysis was used to measure the motion of a spring released from uniform circular motion, and results were compared to a computational model of the system. It was found that the free end of the spring continues in uniform circular motion after the fixed end is released and before the spring fully collapses.

Nikki Sanford, BigSURS 2013


Simulation Studies of the Helium and Lead Observatory (HALO)
Presented at the 2013 BigSURS Meeting, High Point University

Simulation studies for were conducted for the Helium and Lead Observatory (HALO), the supernova neutrino detector at SNOLAB, Sudbury, Ontario. HALO consists of 79 tons of lead, with 128 3He counters which detect the scattered lead neutrons resulting from incoming neutrinos. Improvements were made to the Geant4 Monte Carlo simulation’s geometry by the addition of water boxes and plastic baseboards, which serve to reflect scattered neutrons back towards counters, and shield against outside neutrons and gammas. Several box designs were created, and the resulting event detection efficiencies and labeling of 1n and 2n events were studied. It was found that these additions cause a 2% efficiency increase, a slight improvement of correctly labeled events, and are a significant improvement to the HALO simulation.

Michael Cantor, BigSURS 2013


An Apparatus to Measure Young’s Modulus
Presented at the 2013 BigSURS Meeting, High Point University

Young’s modulus, a measure of the deformation of a material in response to an applied force, is an integral variable to consider when designing and engineering systems such as buildings or bridges. Young’s Modulus is the slope of a stress versus strain curve. We designed and constructed an apparatus to measure the Young’s modulus of copper and steel wires. Wires were held taut at one end with clamped wooden blocks and the other end is passed over the pulley of a rotary motion sensor. The application of mass to the wire stretches the wire and causes the pulley to rotate. The amount of the rotation is proportional to the distance the wire stretches. The strain is found by the stretch of the wire divided by the initial length of the wire while to find the stress we used the amount of force applied divided by the cross-sectional area of the wire. The stress versus strain graph is then plotted and the Young’s Modulus is calculated by determining the slope of the stress versus strain graph. We report on the Young’s Modulus for each material tested with our apparatus.

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Linda Poplawski, BigSURS 2013



Measuring Viscous Fluid Flow with Biomimetic Cilia
Presented at the 2013 BigSURS Meeting, High Point University

To understand fluid flow driven by cilia in biological systems such as in the lungs and in vertebrate embryos, we fabricated arrays of biomimetic cilia, core-shell microstructures that mimic the size of biological cilia. These biomimetic cilia are 10 microns tall and 600 nm in diameter with a flexible poly (dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) core and an up- per portion surrounded by a thin shell of nickel. To produce flow, they are immersed in a fluid and magnetically driven by a rotating permanent magnet. As cilia in biology are immersed in environments of varying viscosities and elasticities, biomimetic cilia have the potential to contribute to a deeper understanding of how fluids are moved at the micro-scale.

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Jacob Brooks, BigSURS 2013


The Effects of Initial Conditions on the Motion of the Boleadora Weapon
Presented at the 2013 BigSURS Meeting, High Point University

The effects of initial throwing conditions, such as mass and initial speed, on the motion of a thrown boleadora from the point of the boleadora’s release to its full equidistant spread were investigated. The boleadora is an ancient hunting weapon made of three individual masses connected by rope to a common center point. When the weapon is thrown, the three masses initially travel together. Shortly after release, the masses spread out around their common center point, eventually ensnaring their target. A computational model was developed and compared to actual results measured with video analysis. The effects of mass, radius, and initial speed on the evolution of the system were studied. Both the model and results from video analysis will be presented.

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Matthew Carnaghi, BigSURS 2013


The Path of Springs Released from Uniform Circular Motion
Presented at the 2013 BigSURS Meeting, High Point University

The path of a spring released from uniform circular motion was investigated and compared to a computational model. This study is an extension of the “slinky drop” experiment, which consists of holding the top of a slinky above the ground, allowing it to stretch due to the gravitational force, and releasing it from rest. In this case the bottom portion of the slinky remains stationary until the top portion (or a longitudinal wave) reaches it. Similarly, for a spring in uniform circular motion, the spring is not uniformly stretched but is most stretched near the center of the circle. If released from rest, the furthest end of the spring continues in uniform circular motion until the spring has collapsed. Video analysis was used to measure the motion of the spring and it was compared to a computational model of the system.

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Nikki Sanford, AAPT W13


Simulation Studies of the Helium and Lead Observatory (HALO)
Presented at the Winter 2012 AAPT Meeting, New Orleans, LA

Simulation studies for were conducted for the Helium and Lead Observatory (HALO), the supernova neutrino detector at SNOLAB, Sudbury, Ontario. HALO consists of 79 tons of lead, with 128 3He counters which detect the scattered lead neutrons resulting from incoming neutrinos. Improvements were made to the Geant4 Monte Carlo simulation’s geometry by the addition of water boxes and plastic baseboards, which serve to reflect scattered neutrons back towards counters, and shield against outside neutrons and gammas. Several box designs were created, and the resulting event detection efficiencies and labeling of 1n and 2n events were studied. It was found that these additions cause a 2% efficiency increase, a slight improvement of correctly labeled events, and are a significant improvement to the HALO simulation.

Kevin Sanders, AAPT W13


Computational Modeling and Video Analysis of a Kicked Football
Presented at the Winter 2012 AAPT Meeting, New Orleans, LA

The motion of a football is not characterized by ideal projectile motion because it is significantly affected by drag and spin. In this experiment, a regulation football was kicked end-over-end in a vertical plane, and high-speed video was used to analyze its motion. The video was analyzed with Tracker software to determine the effect of drag on the path of the football. It was found that the drag force and gravitational force were not sufficient to describe its motion. The path of the football also showed something of a lift force, likely due to the Magnus effect. A numerical model was developed using a classroom cluster of Macs to approximate the solution using a brute force method. The results of this and a comparison to a possible analytic solution will be presented.

Linda Poplawski, AAPT W13


Determining DNA Breaks Due to Neutron Radiation
Presented at the Winter 2012 AAPT Meeting, New Orleans, LA

The amount of radiation that a human being is safely allowed to receive is determined from a linear curve extrapolated from unfortunate events in which large doses were delivered, such as atomic accidents. In order to determine if the body reacts to neutron radiation in a different way, such as with a threshold, DNA breaks were examined. Large doses of neutron radiation, from a neutron generator, were given to plasmid DNA placed in a copper holding block to determine if there are any damages in the DNA specifically due to radiation. The irradiated DNA was then analyzed using gel electrophoresis and measurements were taken from those images. Assumptions have been used in order to create a simpler calculation of the radiation given and to determine an approximated dose received by the plasmid DNA.

Kelsey McLaughlin, NCSAAPT F12


Elasticity of Thera-Band Resistance Bands
Fall 2012 Meeting of the North Carolina Section of AAPT at High Point University

The elastic properties of Thera-Band resistance bands were investigated to determine whether the material could be used in an introductory physics experiment for life science majors. Green and black bands were studied by stretching the bands and graphing the stress vs. strain. As expected for this material, resistance bands are non-linear. However, for greater than 40% strain, the material is approximately linear. For longer bands (1.7 m), the elastic modulus was consistent for the two colors. For shorter bands (0.8 m), the elastic modulus for the green band was slightly less than the elastic modulus for the black band. For both colors, the elastic modulus for shorter bands was less than the elastic modulus for longer bands.

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Laura Lee, NCSAAPT F12


Controlling a VPython Simulation with an Accelerometer and Arduino
Presented by Aaron Titus at the Fall 2012 Meeting of the North Carolina Section of AAPT at High Point University

This experiment involved using an Arduino microcontroller to facilitate input from an accelerometer in order to control a VPython simulation. A Memsic 2125 dual-axis accelerometer was connected to an Arduino microcontroller, to which the X-axis and Y-axis pulse width modulated signals were sent. Serial communication was used to record these values and calculate the acceleration on the X-axis/Y-axis in an Arduino program. This program then used a linear approximation to calculate the tilt in degrees on both axes. A VPython simulation then used these tilt values to rotate a virtual board in order to move a ball into a target ring.

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Andrei Makhanov, NCSAAPT F12


Finding an Approximate Age for the Open Star Cluster NGC 2422
Fall 2012 Meeting of the North Carolina Section of AAPT at High Point University

In this study we determined the approximate age of the open cluster NGC 2422. A color-magnitude diagram was used to do this. To create the diagram, we took images of NGC 2422 with the PROMPT 4 telescope on SKYNET and analyzed them with Afterglow. We determined that the cluster is approximately 474 million years old.

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Brielle Spencer, HPU 2012


Quark Model Calculation of a Meson Spectrum
Presented at the HPU Department of Math Senior Seminar

Mesons are bound states of a quark and an anti-quark. The theory that describes the interaction between quarks is known as Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD). While QCD cannot be solved analytically, simplified models have been used to investigate the essential properties of bound states of quarks. In this work, I calculate the mass spectrum of mesons composed of charm quarks. To accomplish this, I solve the time-independent Schrodinger equation containing a simplified model QCD potential that describes the interaction between the quark and anti-quark. The Hamiltonian matrix is written in a harmonic oscillator basis and is diagonalized to obtain the meson masses and wave functions. I compare the spectrum generated by the model with experimental data for the masses of the mesons.

Nikki Sanford, BigSURS 2012


An Analysis of the Rotation of a Hula Hoop
Presented at the 2012 BigSURS Meeting, Radford University

The motion of a point on a hula hoop rotating about a person‘s arm was studied using video analysis. The x-position versus time graph of the motion was found to be a sum of two sinusoidal functions of slightly different frequencies, i.e. a beat pattern. The two frequencies in the curve fit were related to the rotational frequency of the arm and the ratio of radii of the hoop and the arm. The measured frequencies can be predicted using a theoretical model of the hoop rotating in uniform circular motion about its center with the center of the hoop rotating in uniform circular motion about the arm. The video analysis and a theoretical model will be presented.

Nikki’s presentation was awarded First Place for her session.

Andrei Makhanov, BigSURS 2012

Color Magnitude Diagrams of Open Star Clusters
Presented at the 2012 BigSURS Meeting, Radford University

A color magnitude diagram of a star cluster is a plot of the apparent magnitudes (brightness) of the stars vs. their color indices. The information contained in these diagrams can be used to calculate the distances to and ages of star clusters. In this project, we construct the color magnitude diagrams of various open clusters. Images of the clusters used to construct the diagrams are taken remotely with the Panchromatic Robotic Optical Monitoring and Polarimetry Telescopes (PROMPT) located at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile. The online processing software Afterglow is used to analyze the images. Access to PROMPT and Afterglow is provided by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Kevin Sanders, AAPTW12


Computational Modeling and Video Analysis of a Place Kick in American Football
Presented at the 2012 AAPT Winter Meeting, Ontario, CA

The motion of an American football during a place kick is not characterized by ideal projectile motion because it is significantly affected by drag and spin. In this experiment, a regulation football was kicked end-over-end (as in a field goal kick). Video was analyzed to determine the effect of drag and lift (due to backspin) on the path of the football. Results of a computational model were compared to the actual path in order to estimate the drag and lift coefficients. It was found that lift, due to the Magnus effect, was more significant than anticipated and could not be neglected in order to accurately model the motion of the football. The video, computational model, and resulting coefficients will be presented.

Nikki Sanford, AAPTW12

Video analysis of a hula hoop rotating about a person’s arm
Presented at the 2012 AAPT Winter Meeting, Ontario, CA

The motion of a point on a hula hoop rotating about a person’s arm was studied using video analysis. The x-position versus time graph of the motion was found to be a sum of two sinusoidal functions of slightly different frequencies, i.e. a beat pattern. The two frequencies in the curve fit were related to the rotational frequency of the arm and the ratio of radii of the hoop and the arm. The measured frequencies can be predicted using a theoretical model of the hoop rotating in uniform circular motion about its center with the center of the hoop rotating in uniform circular motion about the arm. The video analysis, the theoretical model, and a computational model will be presented.

Amanda Tindall, AAPTW12

Use of a Simple Harmonic Oscillator Model to Analyze the Movement of Cilia in the model organism Paramecium
Presented at the 2012 AAPT Winter Meeting, Ontario, CA

Paramecium, unicellular eukaryotes commonly found in freshwater habitats, survive by propelling themselves through the water in search of nutrition. Propulsion is achieved through coordinated motion of thousands of tiny hair-like structures called cilia performing a rowboat-like motion, powering them through the water as quickly as 2700 mu-m/s. Paramecium are excellent model organisms as they are easy to maintain and large enough to examine using brightfield microscopy; models constructed from the analysis of paramecium ciliary beat can be applied to higher order systems, such as human trachea cells. We captured and analyzed videos using a light microscope and open source tracking software, then determined ciliary beat frequency and compared motion to the simple harmonic oscillator, thereby developing an effective model for cilia motion. This research requires little specialized equipment and is an interesting and effective use of video analysis easily explored in both undergraduate laboratories and advanced high school programs.

Jeff Gerber, BigSURS 2011

Presented at the 2011 Big South Undergraduate Research Symposium (BigSURS)

The Minor Planet Center allows professional and amateur astronomers to contribute to our knowledge of the orbits of asteroids. By measuring the position of an asteroid, its osculating orbit can be determined. Due to perturbations, the orbit of any asteroid must be regularly calculated and updated. In this project SkyNet, a network of telescopes and software developed at UNC-Chapel Hill, was used to take images of an asteroid. The CLEA Astrometry Toolkit software was used to measure the position of the asteroid. In this presentation, the images, software, and results will be demonstrated.

Kevin Sanders, BigSURS 2011

Computational Modeling and Video Analysis of a Kicked Football
Presented at the 2011 Big South Undergraduate Research Symposium (BigSURS)

The motion of a football is not characterized by ideal projectile motion because it is significantly affected by drag and spin. In this experiment, a regulation football was kicked end-over-end in a vertical plane, and high-speed video was used to analyze its motion. The video was analyzed with Tracker software to determine the effect of drag and lift (due to backspin) on the path of the football. Results of a computational model were compared to the actual path in order to estimate the drag coefficient. It was found that the path of the football was not parabolic, as expected, and that the drag force and gravitational force were not sufficient to describe its motion. The path of the football also showed something of a lift force, likely due to the Magnus effect. The video, computational model, and resulting coefficients will be presented.

Amelia Morgan and Tiffany Byerly, BigSURS 2011

The Treadmill Effect: The Alteration of Gait Parameters Following Treadmill Activity
Presented at the 2011 Big South Undergraduate Research Symposium (BigSURS)

The pattern in which an individual walks is defined as his or her gait. Gait is specific to an individual, and basic gait parameters, including step velocity, step frequency, and step length can be established. Additionally, center-of-mass motion is also specific to an individual and can be calculated through motion analysis. In these experiments, video analysis was used to establish an individual's basic gait parameters and center-of-mass oscillation. These parameters were then used as a standard to investigate the sensation of vertigo, known as the "treadmill effect," immediately following treadmill activity. Results show that treadmill activity does produce an alteration in step length and parameter variability.

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Coty Mason and Bradley Taylor, BigSURS 2011

High-speed Video Analysis of a 2-Liter Bottle Rocket
Presented at the 2011 Big South Undergraduate Research Symposium (BigSURS)

A 2-liter bottle rocket refers to an inverted 2-liter soda bottle with a hydrogen-oxygen gas mixture that can be ignited to launch the bottle. In this experiment, five two-liter bottle rockets were set up on a rocket launching platform and each rocket’s motion was analyzed using high-speed video at 1200 frames per second. The hydrogen gas (H2) and oxygen gas (O2) were mixed with various concentrations. Through the use of two single replacement chemical reactions and the principle of water displacement, the gases were generated and stored inside the 2-liter bottles. The motion of each rocket was analyzed using Tracker software to determine the net force, impulse, burn time, and maximum speed in order to ascertain the effect of the gas concentrations on the mechanics of the rocket.

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Luke Grome and Shawn Sloan, BigSURS 2011

High-Speed Video Analysis of a Soccer Ball Kicked with Backspin
Presented at the 2011 Big South Undergraduate Research Symposium (BigSURS)

The spin of a soccer ball is caused by kicking the ball off center. If kicked with a force acting through the center of mass, it will have no spin. If kicked with a force off center, then it will spin about an axis through its center of mass. In this experiment, a soccer ball was kicked with backspin, and its motion was recorded with high-speed video at 1200 fames per second. The linear motion of the center of mass and rotational motion about the center of mass were analyzed with Tracker software to determine how far off center the ball was kicked. With this technique, the moment arm was measured to be 7.1 +- 0.1 cm. To verify this result, the moment arm was independently measured to be 7.5 +- 0.5 cm by measuring the angle between the point of impact of the foot on the ball and the force. These measurements of the moment arm were consistent within uncertainty.

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Nikki Sanford and Mary Funke, BigSURS 2011

Video Analysis of a Hula Hoop Rotating About a Rotating Pivot
Presented at the 2011 Big South Undergraduate Research Symposium (BigSURS)

To model a hula hoop rotating around a person’s arm, a mechanical device was created with a spool attached to a bent steel rod that was rotated in uniform circular motion using a variable speed drill. Using Tracker for video analysis, the motion of a point on the hoop was examined. The x-position versus time graph of the motion was found to be a sum of two sinusoidal functions of slightly different frequencies, i.e. a beat pattern. It was determined from the data that one of the frequencies in the motion of the hoop was twice the frequency of the spool. The video, data analysis, and results from a theoretical model will be presented.

Colin McGuire and Catherine Hendricks, BigSURS 2011

Measuring Viscosity with a Driven Damped Harmonic Oscillator
Presented at the 2011 Big South Undergraduate Research Symposium (BigSURS)

A typical problem solved in a junior/senior level classical mechanics course is the driven, damped harmonic oscillator with a linear drag force. This experiment is surprisingly difficult to build because the linear drag is dependent on the diameter of the oscillator along with other parameters, yet the experiment can be used to measure the viscosity of the medium if designed correctly. In this experiment a vertical driven, damped harmonic oscillator was used to measure the viscosity of water, ethylene glycol (EG), and 8, 5, and 3 percent by weight concentration of poly-ethylene glycol (PEG). Water and ethylene glycol were used as controls. Data was analyzed using a Lorentz curve fit to calculate values for gamma, a variable used to calculate the viscosity of the fluid. The viscosity of the polymers decreased with a decrease in concentration. The experimental design and experimental results will be presented.

Aaron Robinson, NCSAAPT S11

An EJS Simulation of a Mass Spectrometer
Presented at the 2011 Spring Meeting of NCSAAPT

This simplistic model of a cubic ion trap is designed to introduce scientists and students to ion cyclotron resonance phenomenon. By employing Easy Java Simulations (EJS), we were able to generate a 3-D model of a cubic ion trap used for Fourier Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance Mass Spectrometry. By combining Newton's 2nd law of motion with the Lorentz Force, we gain the theoretical expression of “ion cyclotron frequency”. When this equation is combined with the Lorentz force, we can create an instrument that, given a constant magnetic field and the appropriate electric fields for trapping and excitation, will trap and excite a target ion. While the present version of the model does not currently calculate the Fourier transform of the data generated to return the m/z ratio of the ions, it models all the physical aspects that lead to the discrete time voltage signal that is transformed into m/z spectra.

Daniel Short

High-Speed Video Analysis of a Cantilever

A cantilever is a beam that is fixed at one end and free to oscillate on the other end. It is used in an atomic force microscope and a computer hard drive, for example. In this experiment, a cantilever was set up using a long, flat metal beam, and its motion was captured at 1200 fps using high-speed video. The video was analyzed to determine how the frequency of oscillation depends on the length of the beam. In addition, the video was studied to determine the relative contribution of different modes of oscillation to the equation of motion of the beam. In this poster, the high-speed video, the differential equation and solution for the cantilever, and the results of the video analysis will be presented.

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Catherine Hendricks

An Alternative Numerical Technique for Calculating the Perpendicular Component of the Net Force on an Object

According to Newton's second law, the net force on an object is equal to the time rate of change of the object's momentum. The perpendicular component of the net force on the object changes the direction of the momentum and the tangential component of the net force changes the magnitude of the momentum. For motion of an object along any curved path, a numerical technique to calculate the perpendicular component of the net force based on a best-fit circle at a point on the object's path is being investigated. This numerical technique and approximations will be presented along with a comparison of its results with what is obtained from a numerical derivative of the momentum vector.

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Laura Lee


High-Speed Video Analysis of Karate Kicks

A properly performed karate kick requires agility and balance to produce a maximum-speed kick during the largest possible range. In this project, high-speed video analysis at 300 fps was used to study three different kicks: (1) the front kick, (2) the side kick, and (3) the roundhouse kick. The front kick was found to produced the maximum speed in the shortest amount of time. In each case, the maximum speed plateaued for a brief time interval, producing an optimal range in which to strike the target. Videos, graphs, and data analysis or the three different kicks will be presented.


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Elizabeth Messina

Accounting for Non-Constant Thrust in a Model Rocket Simulator

Model rocket simulators usually account for the thrust of the engine by assuming it is constant. However, in reality the force is not constant. The purpose of this project is to determine the thrust curves of various model rocket engines by measuring the thrust vs. time and fitting an eight-parameter function to the data. The thrust curves were used in a rocket simulator developed with Easy Java Simulations (EJS) and results were compared with the case of constant force.


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Colin McGuire

A Classical Force Exchange Simulation

A classical force exchange refers to two objects that exchange a massive particle at constant speed. When the particle is "thrown" or "caught" by each object, it exerts an impulse on the object. As a result of this exchange, the objects accelerate away from each other with an apparent repulsive force. A simulation of the system was developed using Easy Java Simulations (EJS) in order to determine the distance dependence of this force as well as its dependence on other system variables. In this poster, the repulsive force, potential energy, kinetic energy, and total energy of the system will be presented.


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Brielle Spencer

High Speed Video Analysis of the Force by a Bowstring on an Arrow

Bows and arrows have been used for years for both hunting and recreational purposes, and over time innovations have been made to the bow to make it easier for the user. An arrow needs to have high force on it in order to accelerate to high speed, but the user must also be capable of drawing back and easily holding the string in this position. The purpose of this project was to analyze the force by a bowstring on a Mathews Solocam Bow on an arrow as it is shot. Using high-speed video analysis, the net force on the arrow was measured, and a force versus distance graph was analyzed to determine how the force varies as a function of distance while the arrow is in contact with the string. The data showed three distinct regions: (1) an initially rapid increase in the force (just after the arrow is released), (2) a nearly uniform, linear increase, and (3) a nearly constant force that acts for more than half the distance traveled before the arrow leaves the bow. This is consistent with the design of the bow that when drawn is initially difficult to pull, becomes easier to pull, and then becomes very easy to hold when fully drawn.


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Mark Montazer

Simulating Exoplanets and Radial Velocity Curves

The most prolific method for detecting exoplanets is the radial velocity method. As discoveries are published, they are generally accompanied by data, a set of orbital parameters, and a statistical justification of the conclusions. Using both Keplerian mechanics and Newtonian mechanics, this project used Easy Java Simulations (EJS) to recreate numerous published planetary systems with a nearly identical level of statistical accuracy.


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