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Thread: Need Help for Science Project: Particle Accelerator Model

  1. #1 Need Help for Science Project: Particle Accelerator Model 
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    Hello everyone.

    At my High School, we have a Semester-long project called Senior Project that is a requirement for graduation. We select a topic and dive deep within the topic, eventually writing a paper, writing and presenting a speech, and have some sort or product.

    For my topic, I selected Theoretical Physics; and, for my product, I choose to make a representative of a Particle Accelerator. Yes, this is a fairly large bite to chew off with a fairly small budget to work with. While it will not function exactly as a Particle Accelerator would, it does a decent job at replicating what exactly happens within the machine. This is my plan:

    I have it divided up into four segments due to the fact that I am not sure how plausible this project will be, for most of the construction I am not yet sure will go as planned. Each step gets progressively closer to my end result until I have met what I was aiming for.

    Step One:

    Shown in the image above is the first step in the process. A strait, 12 inch track will be used with seven sets of magnets staggered along the track. The ends of the magnets on either side will have the opposite magnetic attractions. On this track, a metal ball will be placed on the top end of the track and propelled to the end of the track by the forces of the magnets.

    Step Two:


    Shown in the image above is the second step in the process. An oval-shaped track, with roughly 48 inches of track and 8 sets of opposing magnets staggered every 6 inches, will propel a metal ball around the track; hopefully, gaining or sustaining speed.

    Step Three:

    Shown in the image above is the third step in the process. Two of the oval-shaped tracks in Step Two are placed side by side with identical dimensions and magnet placement, but the tracks will be propelling the metal ball in opposite directions.

    Step Four:

    Shown in the image above is the fourth step in the process. The two oval-shaped tracks in Step Three are shown, but they have a track going between the two. There will be some sort of ball-joint system (One of the things I will be needing advice for) that will alter the paths of the two magnets on either oval closest to the entrance to the track in the middle. The paths of the metal balls will be altered to follow the middle track rather than continue in the oval path by having the magnets that are located on the ball-joint rotate by means of a basic electric switch, changing the path to allow the two metal balls going in opposing directions to collide in the center.


    A couple of side notes...

    -The entire project will be placed on a piece of plywood, roughly 52"x40"x3"
    -The track will be made either of copper wire to guide the ball or a small PVC pipe cut in half vertically.
    -The project is due December the 2nd, so time is of the essence.
    -The magnets I currently have are Alnico Bar Magnets, but I have only purchased 10 thus far to test the strength before I invest a solid amount of money into the project.
    -I would prefer my budget to go nowhere above $200, but even that is a bit of a stretch.
    -I apologize that my MS Paint skills are not the best in advance :P
    (I'll add any more specifications if I recall any more that need be met)


    Any feedback, suggestions, or constructive criticism is greatly appreciated.


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  3. #2  
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    Won't work, bearing will just stop at the first set of magnets


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  4. #3  
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    Quote Originally Posted by fizzlooney
    Won't work, bearing will just stop at the first set of magnets
    Why is that and is there a way to fix my design?
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  5. #4  
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    The ball bearing is not going to leave the magnet to go to a weaker magnet. You need to make them electromagnets, and pulse the magnets. Search "coilgun"
    Same concept, less power. Instead of a pulse source like a capacitor, you hook up a PSU. To trigger the coils, you put photogates between coils to trigger the next coil.
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by rp181
    The ball bearing is not going to leave the magnet to go to a weaker magnet. You need to make them electromagnets, and pulse the magnets. Search "coilgun"
    Same concept, less power. Instead of a pulse source like a capacitor, you hook up a PSU. To trigger the coils, you put photogates between coils to trigger the next coil.
    So you're saying if I use electromagnets rather than normal magnets, triggered by photogates, it would work then?

    And is the following method of creating an electromagnet reliable?

    Electromagnet:
    http://education.jlab.org/qa/electromagnet.html


    And I apologize for my lack of knowledge, but I don't have the slightest clue as to what exactly a photogate is, how it works, or how much it will cost.
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  7. #6  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope MagiMaster's Avatar
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    There is a way to build a linear accelerator with permanent magnets. See the second video here: http://dsc.discovery.com/videos/time-warp-car-crushing/. Unfortunately, it can't be built into a loop, so if you want to get past your step 1, it won't help much. Also, don't forget to bank your tracks on the loops so that nothing jumps the rails. (Or I guess you can put everything in a clear tube.)
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  8. #7  
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    If it is just a model you don't need to have anything physical going around in it. A dark tube with a light illuminating it as it goes around. A bit of silver glitter on the inside of the tube which would be illuminated when the light shone on it and some sound effects and maybe even a gauge to give increasing energy readings for the "particles" with a target which lights up with a few different colours when the "charged particles finally hit it". Maybe even a few very thin fuse wires which would light up (before they burn out) in a smoky chamber?

    It is a matter of knowing and showing how the accelerator works and what the results will be.
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  9. #8  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope MagiMaster's Avatar
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    Yeah, but a nice loud CLANG as two ball bearings slammed into each other would be a cool demo too.

    Edit: Thinking about it, add some lexan panels to your parts list though.
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