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Using a Laser to Measure the Speed of Light in Gelatin

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Juan Arriaga

on 16 November 2015

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Transcript of Using a Laser to Measure the Speed of Light in Gelatin

Using a Laser to Measure the Speed of Light in Gelatin
-Juan Arriaga

You can measure the speed of light using an inexpensive laser pointer with a protractor and gelatin.
Is measuring the speed of light with a laser pointer in gelatin accurate?
Introduction/Project Rational
The objective of this science project is to measure the speed of light in gelatin by using an inexpensive laser such as a laser pointer or a laser level. Also to see if different substances affect the refraction of the light
Measuring the speed of light in gelatin using a laser.
Using both substances, the laser still refracted and gave the measure of the speed of light. They both had the same amount.
A device that produces a visible laser beam, such as a laser pointer or a laser level.
A mounting device on which the laser device rests that can easily indicate where the beam is pointed.
A protractor or a homemade protractor that can easily indicate the angle of refraction inside the gelatin.
Gelatin, a clear or a light/transparent color would generally work best
Plastic containers to mold the gelatin.
Dependent Variable
How much will the light refract in the gelatin.
Problem/Research Questions
What substances work better?
What are some methods scientists have used to calculate it?
What are some applications of Snell's law?
Independent Variable
The substances being tested. (The Gelatin and water in a container)
Risk and Safety
Applications/Future Studies
Image 1- http://www.flinnsci.com/store/catalogPhotos/AP7269.jpg

image 2- http://www.sciencebuddies.org/Files/2127/3/Phys_img002.jpg

image 3- http://www.sciencebuddies.org/Users/MicroV/idtp/182.jpg

Source- Science Buddies- http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/Phys_p009.shtml
Using Gelatin to measure the speed of light is more accurate than using water in a container
Our hypothesis was supported by this experiment because the light of the laser refracted the most in the vegetable oil. The light refracted most in the vegetable oil because vegetable oil has the highest density of our three test substances. A human error that could have occurred in this experiment is inaccurate readings from the protractor. In the future, this experiment could be used to measure the speed of light and to measure the refraction or reflection in other substances.
1. Take containers (same size) and put same amount of gelatin, vegetable oil, and ice.
2. Make gelatin according to box instructions and pour water in a container.
3. Mount the laser and make sure it is stable
4. Hold one of the containers at a 25° angle beside the laser.
5. Shine the light through the container and the substance.
6. Use a protractor to measure the angle of refraction when it travels through the substance, the point of incidence (the area in which the light and container meet) being the base point.
7. Record observations.
8. Repeat steps 3-7 for the other substance.
Low-power laser can cause permanent eye damage
People are exposed to it
Before turning on the laser pointer, always be sure that it is pointed away from yourself and others.
Never look directly into a laser pointer.
Never direct a laser pointer at another person.
Follow the same rules for direct reflections of laser light from reflective surfaces.
This can help to measure light and help scientists figure out the speed of light to advance technology.
Full transcript