Applied Physics

Sometimes I’ll picture an idea in my head and it seems to work fine—in my head—but when I actually build it, it doesn’t turn out the way I planned. I wanted to try using a bevel gearbox as a pan and tilt mount for my Lego optics lab (as a pan/mount for my laser). Without the laser mounted it seems to work fine and the pan and tilt motion resembles that of a camera ball mount. Once I attached my laser, however, I found it quite difficult to aim the laser. Turning the wheels in various combinations to try to aim the laser ain’t exactly intuitive even while watching where the laser dot moves on my target.

My wife and I went to see Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (“You&Me&the Bottle Makes 3 Tonight”) Saturday at Conner Prairie, part of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra Symphony on the Prairie summer series. We got there a bit early and ended up sweating in the hot, hot sun waiting for the concert to start.

Refining oil starts with distillation

Have you ever wondered why you can't just use raw crude oil in a diesel engine or why your car won't run by filling the tank with kerosene or engine oil?  If these things could be done, then in large part, we would not need oil refineries.  Rather we could just filter the dirt out of the raw crude oil and burn that for our various energy needs.  Largely, the problem is that crude oil is a mixture of very many different kinds of hydrocarbons.  A hydrocarbon is a molecule made of only carbon atoms and hydrogen atoms.  Typically, a hydrocarbon is a chain of connected carbon atoms to which hydrogen atoms are then attached.

Polariscope

Polariscope

Aug 10 2015 | 0 comment(s)

I decided to build a polariscope for my Lego optics lab.

On occasion you might need a mechanism to rotate filters such as a polarized filter and a polariscope is a simple and fun way to view the rainbow colors in clear plastic objects such as flatware, tape dispensers, etc.

I’ll demonstrate how I built a worm drive pan/tilt mount out of Lego for your various Lego optics lab lens and filter holders. Some folks might find that the worm drive allows a bit more fine tuning for the rotation and tilt of the lens or mirror mounted on the worm drive pan/tilt mount than they were able to do using the simple pan/tilt mount.

Follow me on Twitter: @SteveSchuler20.

Parts needed

I’ll demonstrate how I built a worm drive panoramic mount out of Lego for your various Lego optics lab lens and filter holders. Some folks might find that the worm drive allows a bit more fine tuning for the rotation of the lens or mirror mounted on the worm drive panoramic mount than they were able to do using the simple panoramic mount.

Follow me on Twitter: @SteveSchuler20.

Parts needed

Titanium and gold are usually not magnetic and cannot be magnets – unless you combine them just so. Scientists at Rice University did so and discovered what is a first of its kind: an itinerant antiferromagnetic metal -- TiAu -- made from nonmagnetic constituent elements.

The research by the lab of Rice physicist Emilia Morosan has already been cited as a textbook example of how magnetism arises in metals. While the uses for this particular magnet have yet to be determined, the Rice discovery could enhance the scientific understanding of magnetism. This is not the kind of magnet one would stick to a refrigerator. Magnetic order only appears in TiAu when the metal is cooled to 36 kelvins, about minus 395 degrees Fahrenheit.


By Charles Choi, Inside Science -- If you poured a glass of water on a table, you would expect to get a puddle that spreads for a while and then stops. However, until now, the formulas that scientists used to describe the flow of fluids suggested the puddle should never stop spreading.

Now researchers have solved the mystery of why such a puddle would not keep spreading endlessly — the culprit is a force that acts on microscopic scales. This solution to such a simple everyday phenomenon could have far-reaching ramifications for everything from improving advanced electronics to fighting climate change.

I’ll demonstrate how I built upon my Lego simple panoramic mount to create a simple pan/tilt mount for your various Lego optics lab lenses and filter holders.

Follow me on Twitter: @SteveSchuler20.

Parts needed

1 Lego Turntable 4 X 4
2 Lego Beams 1 X 4
2 Lego Hinges 2 X 4

Here’s how I built my Lego simple pan/tilt mount.

A humble soil additive used by millions of amateur and professional gardeners alike is set to slash the cost of the most effective form of insulation for buildings.

Brunel University London academic Dr. Harjit Singh has proved in the laboratory that vacuum insulation panels can be made with a core of perlite - the volcanic ore “popcorn” used in horticulture to improve drainage and water retention.

This dramatically reduces the cost of the panels which are normally made by surrounding a core of fumed silica with metallised PET envelope. Initial cost savings are estimated to be at least 30 per cent.