By Colin Cooke
Knowing, designing and accomplishing experiments is on the center of technological know-how. this article introduces the elemental rules on which physicists may still construct a radical experimental method of their discipline.
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This is a continuous roll of paper, moved by a drum turning at a fixed speed, with a pen making a mark at right angles to this motion at a position along the paper proportional to the signal. In effect one achieves a graph of voltage against time. A further development of the same idea is to make the 50 MEASURING THE EXPERIMENTAL VARIABLES progress of the paper proportional to a second input voltage, rather than time through the constant speed motor. This produces a piece of equipment called an X-Y plotter.
It is not good practice to take measurements without at least a rough theory for guidance. Further design considerations are left as an exercise for the reader. 5. Make preliminary measurements The preliminary experiments will attempt to decide which factors are important in bringing about the effect, as well as those variables which are not important. If one takes the simple approach, and investigates a single variable at a time, this will necessitate many experiments. 6. Analysis of preliminary results This will result in lists of important and negligible factors, with magnitudes of their effects.
We must not waste time improving the accuracy of the other three measurements. (d) If an error of less than 10% is required there are various ways of improving the accuracy of measurement of thickness: (i) σt could be reduced by using a more sensitive thickness gauge, perhaps based on the wavelength of light. (ii) A little improvement could be obtained by interpolation between the scale readings of the micrometer screw gauge, but this would demand GENERAL DISCUSSION 35 great consistency in the force used to close the jaws on the paper.
An introduction to experimental physics by Colin Cooke