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International Baccalaureate Physics 4/PSOW

To Measure the Stiffness of Steel by the


Oscillations of a Hacksaw Blade
Aim: IB Criteria Assessed
This is to show that a concept difficult to measure can be easily Data Collection, Data Processing,
calculated indirectly from a suitable equation. Also this is further Evaluation
practice in plotting an appropriate graph and using the gradient to find Criteria Aspect Level
a constant - in this case the constant is the stiffness (E) of the steel. assessed 1 2 3 awarded
Also you will see how to use your graph to obtain a ± estimate of Pl (a)
accuracy.
Pl (b)
Apparatus: DC
Clamp, hacksaw blade, stop watch, 2 magnets, ruler, micrometer, DPP
digital scales, blocks of wood.
CE

Diagram: Hacksaw blade

Magnets M

x
Clamp

Method:
Clamp the hacksaw blade between the 2 blocks of wood with the blade vertical. Attach the 2 magnets
to the end of the blade, about 0.15 m from the blocks (distance x). Pull the magnets to one side and
release them so that the blade vibrates. Time the period T. Repeat this for various lengths of x up to 0.3
m. Also measure the mass of the magnets (M), the thickness of the hacksaw blade (d), and the breadth
(b).

Data Collection:
Period T, mass M and stiffness E are related by the equation:
16π 2 M  3
T2 = 3 x
 bd E 

• Draw a suitable table to include all of the variables together with their actual uncertainties and
percentage uncertainties due to the apparatus used.

Data Processing and Presentation:


• Plot a suitable graph that will allow you to find the stiffness E.
• What is the accuracy of your result?
• To estimate this, find the best-fit line on the graph and the worst fit line.
• Calculate a value for E from each gradient and so find a ± value for your result for E.

Conclusion and Evaluation:


• What does the term “stiffness” mean?
• What is the value of the stiffness (E) for steel?
• How does this value compare with the one that you have obtained.
• Suggest reasons for any differences.
• Suggest areas where the procedures used in this practical may have been the cause of some of
these errors.

© 2006 - Mike Dickinson 8266766.doc


International Baccalaureate Physics 4/PSOW

• Suggest modifications to the practical to minimise any errors and shortcomings.

© 2006 - Mike Dickinson 8266766.doc


International Baccalaureate Physics 4/PSOW

Internal Assessment Marking Form


Crit. Aspects Level Grade
Research Question: Hypothesis: Variables: ccc 3
c. Identifies a focused c. Relates the hypothesis or c. Selects the ccp 2
problem or research prediction directly to the relevant ccn 2
question. research question and independent cpp 2
p. States the problem or explains it, quantitatively and controlled ppp 1
research question, but it where appropriate. variable(s). cpn 1
Pl(a)
is unclear or incomplete. p. States the hypothesis or p. Selects some cnn 1
n. Does not state the prediction but does not relevant ppn 1
problem or research explain it. variables. pnn 0
question or repeats the n. Does not state a n. Does not select nnn 0
general aim provided by hypothesis or prediction. any relevant
the teacher. variables.
Materials / Control of Variables: Collecting Data: ccc 3
Apparatus: c. Describes a method c. Describes a method that ccp 2
c. Selects appropriate that allows for the allows for the collection ccn 2
apparatus or control of the of sufficient relevant cpp 2
materials. variables. data. ppp 1
p. Selects some p. Describes a method p. Describes a method that cpn 1
Pl(b) appropriate that makes some allows for the collection cnn 1
apparatus or attempt to control the of insufficient relevant ppn 1
materials. variables. data. pnn 0
n. Does not select n. Describes a method n. Describes a method that nnn 0
any apparatus or that does not allow for does not allow any
materials. the control of the relevant data to be
variables. collected.
Collecting / Recording Raw Data: Organising / Presenting Raw cc 3
c. Records appropriate raw data (qualitative Data: cp 2
and/or quantitative), including units and c. Presents raw data clearly, cn 1
uncertainties where necessary. allowing for easy pp 1
DC p. Records some appropriate raw data. interpretation. pn 0
n. Does not record any appropriate raw data. p. Presents raw data but does not nn 0
Aspect 1 includes units, uncertainties, allow for easy interpretation.
significant digits n. Does not present raw data or
presents it incomprehensibly.
Processing Raw Data: Presenting Processed Data: cc 3
c. Processes the raw c. Presents processed data appropriately, helping cp 2
data correctly. interpretation and, where relevant, takes into cn 1
p. Some raw data is account errors and uncertainties. pp 1
processed correctly. p. Presents processed data appropriately but with some pn 0
DPP
n. No processing of raw errors and/or omissions. nn 0
data is carried out or n. Presents processed data inappropriately or
major errors are made incomprehensibly
in processing. Aspect 2 includes uncertainty bars, max / min slopes
(HL), axes with labels and units, best fit line drawn
CE Drawing Conclusions: Evaluating procedure(s) Improving the ccc 3
c. Gives a valid and results: investigation: ccp 2
conclusion, based on the c. Evaluates procedure(s) c. Identifies ccn 2
correct interpretation of and results including weaknesses and cpp 2
the results, with an limitations, states realistic ppp 1
explanation and, where weaknesses or errors. suggestions to cpn 1
appropriate, compares p. Evaluates procedure(s) improve the cnn 1
results with literature and results but misses investigation. ppn 1
values. some obvious p. Suggests only pnn 0
p. States a conclusion that limitations or errors. simplistic nnn 0
has some validity. n. The evaluation is improvements.
n. Draws a conclusion that superficial or n. Suggests unrealistic

© 2006 - Mike Dickinson 8266766.doc


International Baccalaureate Physics 4/PSOW

misinterprets the results. irrelevant. improvements.

© 2006 - Mike Dickinson 8266766.doc