1. Handy glider
It is possible to make small gliders with paper and to make them fly for a very long time by putting your hand below the glider during flight (video on IPT website). Explain the physics behind this phenomenon and describe the optimal set of parameters for the best control of the glider.
3. LEGO tower
A LEGO mold, water and gelatin can be used to produce jelly, or ‘gummy’ LEGO bricks (video on IPT website). It is possible to build towers using these gummy LEGO bricks in the same way as can be achieved with their plastic counterparts. What is the maximum height of gummy LEGO tower that can be built and how does this depend on the concentration of gelatin in the bricks?
9. Water trail
A spray of water drops can be generated behind the wheels of a moving car on a wet road. How does the height and length of the spray trail that is formed depend on the speed of the car? What is the mean size of the drops that are formed? Can the drops form a mist that is thick enough to seriously reduce the visibility on a busy highway?
15. Tea with honey
Construct a device to continuously stir a cup of tea with a tea spoon of honey at the bottom. The device should be operated using a single 1.5V AA battery and the honey should be dissolved and uniformly distributed in the minimum possible time. Propose your own criterion for determining the homogeneity of the stirred solution. How will using the sugar instead of honey, or adding a slice of lemon to your tea influence the results?
At a certain temperature, popcorn bursts open, jumps and emits a ‘pop’ sound. Devise a method to estimate the jump height of the corn kernels based on measurements of the sound of the pop and determine the limits of the precision in your chosen method. Typical parameters for consideration may include the type of corn, initial positioning of corn, heating mechanism, heat, heating rate, kernel coupling, etc.
Construct an experimental setup to simulate the aurora borealis in the laboratory. You should describe the theory behind its operation and give limits for the minimum possible size of your experimental apparatus.
8. Nail it!
Nail guns are often used to drive nail into wood. Build your own nail gun using liquid nitrogen evaporation. What is the maximum thickness of the wood board that can be pierced by a nail fired from such a pistol if it shouldconsume no more than 50 ml of liquid nitrogen per shot?
Be extremely careful when performing experiments!
10. Light-driven vehicle
Build a toy car that is powered by an external light source. What is the maximum speed that the car can reach if it starts moving from rest? The light source cannot be moving with the car and is limited to 5 W of power consumption. What are the important parameters that influence the final speed of the car?
13. Flat trees
Some liquids don’t flow freely down the walls of a vessel, but form tree-like structure (see picture). Which properties are required for liquids to behave in this way? Explain how these properties affect the shape and characteristic dimensions of the structures that are formed by these liquids.
14. Flashing lamp
The flashing of a faulty fluorescent lamp appears to be random in time. What are the physical origin and the statistical properties of the flashing?
17. Magnetic fissioning of droplets
When a Neodymium magnet is brought close to a ferrofluid droplet suspended on a superhydrophobic surface, the droplets are observed to fission (video on IPT website). Determine the smallest drop size that can be created in this way. How does the smallest drop size depend upon important parameters (initial droplet composition and volume, magnet and surface properties, the speed and position of the magnet approaching the droplet, etc.)?