Physics Students Plan 'Explosive' Demo

March 11, 2011

The Society of Physics Students at Wabash College will be presenting its annual Physics Demo Show on Wednesday, March 16 at 7:00 p.m. in Ball Theater of the Fine Arts Center.
The event is free and open to people of all ages, and will feature lasers, explosions, and dazzling demonstrations of the laws of physics.
“We will be repeating some of the coolest demos from previous years, plus adding some brand-new, never-been-seen-before (at Wabash) demonstrations,” said Assistant Professor of Physics Martin Madsen. “Sure, you can see most of it on YouTube, but you really have to see these things live and in person. We’re talking fire, lasers, smashing things, and other cool physics experiments.”
The students’ demonstrations will feature a 5-gallon vacuum can crusher, a laser beam that explodes balloons, a bed of nails, and a pendulum that uses bowling balls.
Other fun demonstrations include:
Vortex Cannon — This device creates a “cloud” or “smoke ring” that travels at tremendous speed and is capable of knocking over large objects or blowing up smaller things.
Viscoelastic Fluid — We don’t know what the Society of Physics Students intends to do with this, but in essence, Viscoelastic Fluid is one “that behaves as solid and as well as liquid too. It has elastic nature it will regain back when applied stress is removed,” according to Wikipedia.
Gauss Gun — Credited to Carl Friedrich Gauss, this device projectile accelerator that uses coils as electromagnets to generate velocity.
Van de Graaff Ball — This is that big, aluminum ball that makes your hair stand up straight.
A generator powers up a few thousand volts, while the nearby ball is at zero volts — but the electric field between the two is large enough to create an arc that will make your hair stand on end.
Rocket Sled — This is “a test platform that slides down a set of rails and is propelled by rockets,” according to Wikipedia. We’re not sure what the SPS students are going to project, but we did find a Mythbusters video that is pretty explosive.


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