Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Science Fair Project

It's time for our kids to do a project for their school's Science Fair. Last weekend I helped them do their projects. One of them wanted to build an electric motor, so I found instructions for building a simple electric motor (via, a really great site for all your Science Fair needs). Here's a video of what she built:

Now here's a question (specially for the electrical engineers amongst you...!): why exactly does the armature rotate? To help you figure it out, here's how the motor is set up. The armature is made of magnet wire with a non-conducting enamel coating. The axle supports (in which the armature axle rests) are made from a thicker wire which normally has a plastic insulation; we stripped the plastic insulation exposing the bare wire. Each axle support is connected to one end of the battery, and there's a magnet under the armature. In addition, there's a clever little trick (described in the instructions). Can you figure it out?

Talking about the Science Fair, this year Leigh Klotz and I are running the Science Fair at our kids' school. We put together a page of links to web resources for Science Fair projects. Check it out---you'll find all kinds of really great projects.


Ashish said...

This is cool - as for why the armature rotates, that is child's play. Even a computer science major can answer this one, so I will leave it to the CS guys who are EE wannabe's!


Also cool, since I have judged a high school science fair ( for the last 15 years - the projects these kids come up with are amazing. The winners participate in the Intel International Science Fair, where one of the grand prizes is a free trip to the Nobel Prize ceremony!


Pandu Nayak said...

Spoken like a true EE engineer who's forgotten everything taught in Kamath's or KCM's class (or who ever it was who talk you about motors)!

As for our science fair, it's an elementary school science fair which is not a competition---it's all about participation, everyone wins, and everyone has a great time!

Ashish said...

You could have stopped at " ... who's forgotten everything". Period. :-)

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