Physics at the University of Virginia
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Al Tobias (wat4y) - Office: Gibson S123 & Physics 218, (434) 924-0538

Physics Demo Manual

Demonstrations are cataloged according to PIRA Bibliography


Due to Physics Building renovations, the lead time to set up demo requests has increased due to the need to transport equipment across campus. Please be kind and let me know well ahead of time what you need.

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 Motion In One Dimension
 Motion In Two Dimensions
 Newton's First Law
 Newton's Second Law
 Newton's Third Law
 Statics Of Rigid Bodies
 Applications Of Newton's Laws
 Brachistochrone curve
 Cavendish Balance Model
 Gravitational field model
 Work and Energy
 Rotational Motion
 Properties of Matter

Gravitational field model


To demonstrate the orbit of an object in a gravitational potential well.


A Lexan sheet is heated and then stretched to produce a surface very close to inverse square gravitational field. Start the ball rolling tangentially in the bowl to obtain an orbit, then observe the effects of conservation of angular momentum.


Practice is needed to achieve good orbit.
An alternative setup of a fabric stretched over the trash can is available.