Investigatory Project: Gauss Rifle

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The Gauss Rifle:

A Magnetic Linear Accelerator

Macalino, D. M. D.

Magpantay, J. M.

Recto, I. J.

Reyes, R.

Francisco, P. V.

4 – 5 Zatti IDT 4

In partial fulfilment for the requirement in Physics

Don Bosco Technical Institute – Makati

SY 2011-2012

Ms. April J. Cruz

Research Adviser

Chapter I – Introduction

I. Background of the Study

It was either the Chinese or the Greeks who discovered the properties of lodestone, which "contain magnetite, a natural magnetic material Fe304" (Jezek, 2006). This dated back to the first century, B.C. in the writings of Lucretius and Pliny the Elder, in which he mentions the "magical powers of magnetite." Years following, magnetite had been marked with superstitious feelings of possessing "magical powers, such as the ability to heal the sick, frighten evil spirits and attract and dissolve ships made of iron!" (Jezek, 2006). Magnets "attract paper clips, nails and other objects made of iron" (Giancoli, 1998).

Johann Gauss, born April 30th, 1777, was a man or great accomplishment. Starting at the age of seven, "his potential was noticed almost immediately. His teacher and assistant were amazed when Gauss summed the integers from 1 to 100 instantly" (O'Connor and Robertson, 1996). Gauss built a magnetic observatory, completed in 1833 to observe magnetic declination. Gauss died in his sleep on February 23rd, 1855.

II. Statement of the Problem

The purpose of this experiment is to find out the relationship between the spacing of the magnets in a Gauss Rifle and the velocity of the last ball, and use it to determine the maximum velocity that can be achieved.

III. Significance of the Study

It is important for us to know whether the spacing in-between magnets would affect the overall velocity of the last ball. This will give us accurate measurements to improve the speed of the ball.

IV. Scope and Limitations

The project will be conducted for a period of at most 2 months. Neodymium magnets and steel balls were used in the study. The researchers will incur a total expenditure of Php 3, 000.00 which will have covered the expenses on buying the magnets and the balls. The project will be conducted in a large room to help get accurate measurements without any obstructions. The experiment will consist of 3 trials per number of magnet stages and getting its average. Any observation on the differences in their speed will be recorded.

Chapter II – Review of Related Literature

Forces of magnets can "be either attractive or repulsive and can be felt even when the magnets don't touch" (Giancoli, 1998), which is an important part of the Gauss Rifle. Gauss Rifles are linear accelerators, in which "the kinetic energy of the ball is transferred to the magnet, and then to the balls touching it" (Field). We believe that there is a correlation between the number and spacing of the magnets and the final velocity of the last ball. In addition, an experiment testing the effect of magnet spacing in Gauss Rifles indicated that "the velocities increased as the spacing decreased" (Davis, 2003). This particular experiment was done "by testing spaces between 5 and 13 centimeters." (Davis, 2003)

Chapter III - Methodology

I. Materials

➢ 4 Magnets
➢ 10 Nickel-Plated Steel Balls
➢ Wooden, Plastic, or Aluminium Rods/Dowels
➢ Wood Glue
➢ Scotch Tape
➢ Cutter
➢ Shoe Box
➢ Sand (2 cups)
➢ Tape measure (Metric)
➢ Ruler
➢ Table in a large room
➢ Calculator

II. General Procedure

1. Create a rail or slide by gluing wooden, plastic, or aluminium rods/dowels placed side by side 2. Place the slide on the table and put a magnet on the slide, near one end....
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