# Kit Experiments in Mechanics

The Course

Mechanics being a first course in physics training, a balance of theory and hands-on activities gets the student ready to undertake a systematic study of other areas of physics. Accordingly they go hand-in-hand in our undergraduate first course taught at our University. On the theoretical side, a basic introduction to standard topics in Mechanics is undertaken while using elementary mathematical methods based on calculus. Computational methods learnt in an earlier course are also applied in solving problems as well as for demonstration purposes.

Measurements related to particles or a system thereof, kinematics and dynamics as well as properties of matter are usually the skills built in a Mechanics course. The learning objectives related to this course typically include the ability to visualize, describe, and solve physical problems. Students are also expected to set up their own experiments using simple components and perform measurements.

The kit
In a normal lab-based setting, there are about 8 – 10 experiments performed in a semester. However, during the pandemic a digital (smartphone) camera and tracker were utilized to perform and analyze experiments with ordinary items such as a ruler, coins etc. that are fairly regular, accessible, as well as standardized. No special kit was sent for this course.

Home-kit based experiments
After a practice exercise using videography as well as tracker, five experiments were performed as graded activities. These were:

1‑D motion of objects under the influence of forces
2D projectile motion
Collision of two objects
Centre-of-mass of a system of particles
Young’s modulus by bending of a beam
Rotational motion of a beam

In addition, students performed a classical collision simulation on an ensemble to obtain a Maxwellian velocity distribution as a term project.

### Centre-of-mass of a system of particles

This experiment was designed to highlight the role of centre-of-mass of a system of particles or a rigid body as a representative point that reacts to external forces. Please note that the initial idea of using just two objects (title) was changed to three for richness sake.

Handout

Sample report

### Young’s modulus by bending of a beam

This is a standard experiment in continuum mechanics. The focus in this home-experiment with non-standard equipment was to make students aware of the techniques for measuring such quantities.

Handout