An experiment on RC circuits for lockdown times

This entry is part 5 of 7 in the series Workshop for Physics Teachers 2021

What is this session about

Combining a variety of tools

It is now possible to combine a variety of easily available tools to do conventional lab experiments more effectively (even at home)

Smartphones, free software and spreadsheets

A combination of tools can enable students to record and analyse data accurately and conveniently

Transferable skills

Once students get a hang of these methods, they are able to apply them to do other experiments very easily

What do we discuss in this session?

In this session, we take up a conventional Physics experiment – namely, charging and discharging a capacitor/RC circuits, and apply a combination of novel methods to see how it can be done more effectively. Also, it is straightforward to imagine using these methods in similar yet diverse situations to perform sophisticated Physics experiments.

  1. Using smartphones to record readings
  2. Tracker – a free/open source Physics education software to analyse videos
  3. Using Solver tool in Excel to fit data to a theoretical model
00:00 Introduction
07:50 A slightly different variant of a normal RC circuit experiment
17:50 Set up a smartphone to record readings of a multimeter
22:19 The input impedance of a multimeter
23:55 The power of Tracker
33:45 Other features of Tracker
38:25 Using a spreadsheet
44:50 Fitting data to our model using Solver in Excel

Other resources:

Instructions for the RC circuits experiment
Spreadsheet for fitting data to the theoretical model
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