SELECTED APPLETS - PHYS 104, Spring 2004

Last update: April 30, 2004

Sites in boldface are of particular general interest; visit them!!

Link to applet list for Spring 2003

Chap. 1:

Motion with Constant Acceleration

Hwang's 1D Motion

Catch Up (Constant Velocity and Constant Acceleration)

Newton's Second Law Experiment (cf. live class demo)

Resultant of Forces (Addition of Vectors)

Fendt's Projectile Motion Simulator

Projectile Simulation/Experiment

Inclined Plane

Inclined Plane (using trigonometry)

Force and Work (Set mu = 0.)

Simulation of Monkey and Hunter Demonstration (Excellent! Display the acceleration and the velocity vectors.)

Chap. 2:

Fendt's Lever Principle

See-saw Torque (easy and works nicely)

Center-of-Mass Motion (nice)

Center of Mass of Triangle (cf. class demo with disc)

Sliding Block and Friction

Inclined Planes and Frictional Forces

Friction: Single Block Pulled via Pulley by Falling Weight

Frictional Forces: Stacked Blocks Pulled via Pulley by Falling Weight

Friction (in HowStuffWorks)

Popular Presentation of Recent Research Results about Friction: work at Hopkins and U. Texas

From an online lecture (nice figures, overall too advanced for PHYS104)

Conservation of linear momentum: 2 balls from opposite directions

Conservation of linear momentum: 2 masses, elastic, arbitrary initial velocities

Collision of 2 wagons (by Fendt; lots of settings)

Newton's cradle

Generating angular momentum and figure skating (preliminary to next entry)

Conservation of angular momentum and figure skating (more advanced than Phys 104)

Angular momentum and tornados

Bumping cars, analyzed in terms of what happens in various collisions: TRY IT!!

Billiards simulator

Bike hop -- how does it work??

Chap. 3:

Spring scale applet (alas with commentary in Korean!)

Bouncing balls

Center of percussion: experiment from Exploratorium with baseball bat, as in class

Role of inelasticity in granular medium (interesting application not in text)

General collisions

Model of a carousel: centripetal force (Fendt)

"Funderstanding" roller coasters

Design your own roller coaster

Roller coaster G-forces

Coriolus and centrifugal forces

Chap. 4:

Buoyant force in liquids (Fendt)

Buoyant force

Applet showing physical basis of ideal gas law (very enlightening)

Applet: Ideal Gas (note n [moles] x R = N [particles] x k)

Virtual Lab: Ideal Gas Law

Interactive periodic table

Venturi tube simulation for Bernoulli equation (fancy)

Chap. 5.3 (Airplanes & Rockets):

NASA Beginner's Guide to Aeronautics

Airplane lift is as subtle and complicated as the text describes: there are problems with 3 simple pictures often presented in popular discussions:

Longer path or equal transit theory

Skipping stone theory

Venturi theory

More useful discussions:

What is lift?

What is drag?

Bernoulli's equation

Lift is generated by turning a moving fluid

Computes final velocity based on initial and payload masses and on propellant exhaust speed and includes link to derivation of the rocket equation (which is well beyond the level of PHYS 104)

Multistage rockets as spring-loaded

Details on mass fraction for rockets

How rocket engines work (from How Stuff Works)

Chap. 6:

Discussion of heat transfer (somewhat more technical than class)

Primer tutorial on electromagnetic waves (nicely captures the essence; if you are unfamiliar with waves, study this site!)

Tutorial on waves (if you want more information; following links takes you astray)

Black-body radiation applet, excellent; shows power as well as intensity vs. wavelength

Black-body radiation applet (plots log (intensity) vs. wavelength; input T or wavelength of max intensity)

Succinct discussion of black-body radiation (with some formalism and quantum concepts you can skip over)

Radiation discussion, including links to astronomy data, graph, link

Black-body radiation applet (cludgy but potentially useful for extracting numbers)

Watts and lumens: definitions and clarification of essentials

Excellent general description of light bulbs without equations or charts, well worth reading!!!

GE glossary of terms (Note esp. lumens/watt)

Light voltage regulator (scroll down for great table showing sensitivity of lifetime and lumens to voltage)

Popular description of lightbulbs of various types

Nice, clear, succinct discussion of thermal expansion

Coefficients of linear expansion of the elements

Simulation illustrating the 2nd law of thermodynamics, with lots of accompanying discussion; also shows energy conversion to thermal energy for a bouncing ball

Extensive but non-technical discussion of entropy, also heat engines

Extensive discussion of entropy clarifying misconceptions

"All about entropy" with lots of links, likely more than you want to know!

Collection of sites on thermodynamics

Entropy and biology descriptive

How refrigerators work (Follow first few links; from HowStuffWorks)

Parts of a refrigerator

Refrigeration cycle excellent, succinct, clear summary

How an air conditioner works (from HowStuffWorks)

Parts of a window air conditioner

Basic idea of A/C similar summary


How an Automotive Air Conditioner Works , with information on EPA rules on the homepage

Carnot cycle and the efficiency of engines (& 2-stroke)

Gasoline engine: Otto cycle simulation (4-stroke: induction, compression, power, exhaust), with simultaneous trace on graph of pressure vs. volume. (Note that isobaric means at constant pressure and adiabatic means with no heat flows in or out of the system) The area inside the closed path is the work done in one cycle.

Chap. 8:

Electrostatics (P. Falstad)

Electrostatics (P. Falstad, 2D)

Electric field lines from 2 charges

Attraction and Repulsion by Magnet Poles

Chap. 9-10.1:

Ohm's Law, excellent and clear applet, very helpful to check your understanding. Warning: it uses E instead of V to denote voltage.

xxInduced current by distorting coil

Lenz's Law, a clear and informative applet tutorial (with the text now reworded to describe the yellow-dot current correctly)

How a Metal Detector Works -- Eddy Currents

How Power Distribution Grids Work (from How Stuff Works)

How electricity gets to the Electric Outlet

How a Transformer Works (very clear and succinct illustration of the role of the number of primary and secondary coil windings (N_p and N_s))

How a DC Generator Works (very clear and helpful)

How an AC Generator Works (very clear and helpful)

How a pn Junction Diode Works (lots of nice graphs, but stops too soon)

How Diodes Work (same nice graphs about pn junctions and a few more; but stop before the Theory section!)

Vacuum Tube Diodes

Creating a Diode, from How Semiconductors Work of How Stuff Works

pn Junction, from Britney Spears' Guide to Semiconductor Physics!!! (too much math, amazingly)

Formation of a PN Junction Diode

Physical representation of a pn-junction diode (UMBC) [lots of advanced stuff; just look at pix & graphs]

Building a (MOS Field Effect) Transistor (entertaining, not technical)

Illustration of how a Condenser Microphone Works (This is one of the most common types of microphones. Condenser is another word for capacitor.)

How a Speaker Works (nice picture with accompanying trace, but nothing to control)

Music and Sound Waves, a clear but succinct introduction, no equations, many fine links

Analysis of Phrase "Sorry Dave" (from movie 2001); just look at 1st panel of 2nd set

How Tape Recorders Work (from How Stuff Works)oli

How a Hard Drive Works (alas, just words)

Resistor Color Code Guide

Resistor Color Code

Resistor Code Color Chart with sanitized mnemonic

Resistor Color Code Calculator

Charging and Discharging a Capacitor

Variable Capacitor

Lightning: an Example of a Natural Capacitor

Factors Affecting Capacitance

RC Time Constant

Chap. 11:

RLC Resonance Circuit, I vs. f

Simple AC circuits, R, L, C (Fendt)

Electromagnetic spectrum, elementary treatment

Electromagnetic spectrum, inc. jpeg, from NCSA, U of Illinois

Electromagnetic spectrum, succinct table

"The Nature of Light", succinct summary

Assignment in USA of all frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrum (pdf)

Tuning a Radio Receiver

Applet showing amplitude modulation (Note that "mod index" is the amplitude of the modulator. Ignore the lower set of green spikes.)

Applet showing frequency modulation (Similar to the preceding. To see anything, "mod index" must be at least half way up. Ignore the lower set of black spikes.)

How Radio Works (from How Stuff Works)

How Television Works (from How Stuff Works)

Kiselev's Charged Particles Moving in a Magnetic Field

Simple applet on additive color mixing with R, G, B slide bars (similar idea, simpler)

Succinct discussion of additive (RGB) color addition

Color mixing (additive) [Hwang]

Video recorders, types

VCR tips

"Dilletante's dictionary" of audio terminology

Plasma TV science, an extensive compendium of online resources; note esp. Background on How Plasma TV Works

Maarten Rutgers' web site (then click on Fun, then Microwaves)

Parts of a microwave oven

Bloomfield microwave-oven FAQs (and not-so-frequently asked questions)

How Microwave Ovens Work (from How Stuff Works)

Chladni Figures and Vibrating Plates

Microwave-oven experiments: an extensive, wonderful set

Extensive set of Q&As by Bloomfield on microwave ovens

Radiation From A Quarter Wave Antenna: Figs. 68 & 69 at end

Antennas: descriptions of various kinds, inc. quarter-wave

Chap. 12:

Excellent set of clear and instructive panels on various optical phenomena, inc. mirages

Refraction (moving wavefronts)

Reflection/Refraction (beams)

Refraction/reflection (single wavefront to "antennas" on interface--Huygens)

Kiselev's Light Dispersion through a Glass Prism

Nice, clear discussion of rainbows

Physics of rainbows (more than you probably want!)

Several pages on rainbows and why they arise

Extensive information about rainbows, not just physics

Constructive and destructive interference (static)

Adding pair of sinusoidal waves (static)--shows nodes and antinodes well

Superposition of wave forms traveling in opposite directions

Superposition of sinusoidal wave pulses traveling in opposite directions

Superposition of user-modified sinusoidal wave pulses traveling in opposite directions

Superposition of extended waves traveling in opposite directions (from NTNU)

Thin-film applet (excellent: can vary coating index and thickness) [needs Shockwave Player, free download]

Polarizing filter (nice applet)

Polarization of plane wave

FAQs re Gas Discharge Lamps, Ballasts, and Fixtures (more technical than PHYS104!)

Kiselev's Absorption and emission of radiation by an atom

Beginning of fluorescent bulbs sites (How Stuff Works)

Emission of photon from atom due to collision

Essence of fluorescent lamps -- READ THIS!!

Difference between current flow in conductors and plasmas

Starting the lamp--traditional method

Starting the lamp--modern rapid method

Role of ballast in smoothing current

Succinct popular-level blurb on compact fluorescent bulbs (by a physicist at Iowa State)

Excellent discussion of incandescent and fluorescent bulbs (inc. failure of fluorescents)

Kiselev's The Laser (excellent and widely linked)

WWSR Laser tutorial (first of 5 excellent linked pages)

Operation of a Laser System - Interactive Applets

"Laser Adventure " by Rami Ariel, Kansas State U, much at PHYS104 level, sometimes too detailed and mathy

Stimulated Emission

Properties of Laser Radiation-concise summary

Figure re electron population in thermal equilibrium

Normal/Inversion Population Applet (more cute than useful?)

Article on lunar laser ranging (research rather popular, so just read the abstract, and perhaps look at the figures)

Chap. 13, 10.2:

Image Formation by a Converging Lens (Kiselev)

Thin lens demo (Fu-Kwun Hwang), several sites: xx???utb, nau, colorado

Magnification applet

Pinhole photography homepage with lots of links (and ads)

Compendium of lens calculator sites

Lens info

Glossary of Photographic Terms

Photography basics (9 pages--look at pp. 2,4,5,6)

Discussion of depth of field

Nice discussion of depth of field and other basics

Depth-of-Field calculation applet

Depth of Field Calculators for Photographers and lots of info

Digital Photography vs Traditional Photography: exposure control (nice summary)

Tutorial on digital photography

Beginner's guide to (SLR) photography, excellent site, with multiple photos and movielets [requiring QuickTime], with pages on focal length , depth of field, aperture, shutter speed, film speed (but talks of ASA rather than ISO)

Focal length, etc., beautiful photos

f/ calc (slow loading)

Bob Wheeler's photography

How Cameras Work (intro page of several on HowStuffWorks)

How Photograph Film Work (intro page of several on HowStuffWorks)

Nice clear tutorial on binary notation <-------

Binary numbers and analog/digital conversion <-------

How A Compact Disc Works

How CDs Work (intro page of several on HowStuffWorks)

How CD Burners Work (intro page of several on HowStuffWorks)

How DVDs and DVD Players Work (intro page of several on HowStuffWorks)

Bloomfield FAQs on CD recording

Kiselev's Total Internal Reflection

Optical fibers--resources

And for something different, look at this neat application of physics to saving and restoring audio from old records and Edison cylinders

Chap. 14:

Excellent applet on decay and half-life

Another nice simulation of half-life and decay

Nice applet on nuclear chain reaction

JavaBalls simulation of collisions

Applet on Nuclear Isotope Half-lifes

Nuclear Fission Power Plant

Nuclear physics, excellent extensive site with lots of accessible information

A Study of the Atomic Bomb and World War II

Military Technology, Danish site, excellent account of ideas

Atomic Museum tour of the Manhattan project

Radiation and Life -outstanding, clear, concise

Radiation: several nice short summaries

Physics of Seeing Inside People: A brief PowerPoint overview of medical imaging using
MRI, PET, Ultrasound and X-ray CT by Dr. SJ Doran

How CAT Scans Work (How Stuff Works)

How MRI Works (How Stuff Works)

Medical Imaging , an extensive site with tutorials and examples

Physics Saves Lives (AIP "Propaganda")

Compendium of sites on medical physics

Miscellaneous compendiums:

Insultingly Stupid Movie Physics

Bloomfield compendium of questions and answers on How Things Work

Sports physics--vast collection of fascinating links

General physics aimed at biology

Iowa Science Teachers

APS superset

Kiselev site

EDUCYPEDIA, the educational encyclopedia

U. of Maryland HAMLET Applets

U. of Calgary Applets


UNCW collection

PHYS 111 sites

R. S. Reddy's General Physics Java Applets

Mississippi State Simulation Library



Avon School compendium


Conservation of linear momentum: cannon ball into box car (inelastic)

Conservation of linear momentum: 2 masses, arbitrary restitution, arbitrary initial velocities

Good Physics Applets, Evaluated by Donald F. Collins, Warren Wilson College

Sussex collection

Nano, Quantum & Statistical Mechanics & Thermodynamics Educational Sites

MSU physics applet collection

San Jose State physics web resources

Tutorials on computer components

Comic relief:

How to Tell if You Are a Physics Major

Physics limericks