Demonstrations | UMSL

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To order a lab:

Select the lab below to view the demo, or select Order Demo to email the lab supervisor. Please indicate the class section, time and date, room number and any special instructions. If you need any special equipment supplied please email


Electricity and Magnetism

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The following is a list of demonstrations currently available for Physics 1011 and 2111.

1) Rotating Candle Apparatus:
Demo shows the property of centripetal force on gasses.

2) Centrifugal Force Paradox:

The apparatus consists of a curved clear plastic tube with two plastic balls inside. When rotated, the balls will move to the ends of the tube.

3) 2nd Law of Motion Apparatus:

The device will launch 2 balls simultaneously; one will be launched horizontally, the other dropped straight

4) Campbell's Soup Cans:

Roll two Campbell's soup cans of the same shape, volume, and approximately the same mass, but of different variety, down an inclined plane. One will clearly finish before the other.

5) Hoop and a Disk:

A hoop and a disk of approximately the same mass - when rolled down an incline, the disk rolls down faster.

6) Newtonian Demonstrator:

Clacking balls.

7) Gyroscope:

Bicycle wheel gyroscope and rotating platform

8) Standing wave apparatus:

Allows you to display a standing wave on a string and the relationship between frequency and the number of nodes.

9) Tacoma Narrows Bridge Collapse on VHS format.

10) Gravity demo:

Both balls fall at same rate in evacuated tube.

11) Coefficient of Expansion:

Bimetallic strip, wand with ring and ball, thermos for liquid nitrogen, and propane torch for coefficient of expansion.

12) Bell Jar:

To pump out marshmallows, balloons, etc.

13) Radiometer

14) Box of springs:

With huge Lucite holder.

15) Air Hockey:

To demo collisions.

Electricity and Magnetism

The following is a list of demonstrations currently available for Physics 1012 and 2112.

Electrostatic Potential:

1) Van de Graaff generator:

Capable of charging to 400,000 volts. Accessories: ribbons to attach to the generator, a fluorescent bulb to light, electric whirl, discharge electrode for easily and safely discharging generator

2) Wimshurst Machine:

Creates high voltage sparks, by direct drive or by charging capacitors.

3) Lord Kelvin's Waterdrop Experiment:

After a cascading separation of charges, a 70 volt potential is reached to light a neon lamp.

Ohms Law:

1) Circuit:

6V battery with antenna + 3 light bulbs


1) Large Capacitor:

Demonstration of parallel plate capacitor with movable plate, can be used to show relationships between capacitance and plate separation, voltage and plate separation, voltage and charge stored. Plexiglas can be inserted between the plates to show the relationship between voltage and dielectric constant.

2) 1 Farad capacitor

3) Generator:

Use a hand electric generator to charge a capacitor, release the handle and the handle turns on its own as the capacitor discharges

Lorentz' law demonstrator:

1) Circular Lucite + magnet + battery + NaOH:

Shows the force exerted on a charged particle moving in a magnetic field. In this case, the moving charged particles are in the form of current flow through an electrolytic solution developed by an applied voltage that can be used on an overhead.

2) Lucite Box:

Show magnetic field lines with a Lucite box filled with oil and iron filings, which allow you to pass a magnet thru it. This demo is ideal for passing around the class.

3) e/m Apparatus:

The apparatus provides a simple method for measuring e/m, the charge to mass ratio of the electron. The method is similar to that used by J.J. Thomson in 1897. The e/m apparatus has deflection plates that can be used to demonstrate the effect of an electric field on the electron beam. This can be used as a confirmation of the negative charge of the electron.

Magnetic fields:

1) Oersted's Demonstration:

Long straight wire apparatus ; demonstrate the direction of B around a current carrying wire.

2) Electromagnet:

Demonstrate magnetic attraction with an electromagnet that can lift almost 150 lbs. when powered by a flashlight battery.

3) Floating Disk:

Demonstrate the Meissner Effect with a superconductive ceramic disk cooled with liquid nitrogen and a rare-earth magnet

4) Galvanometer:

Move a magnet thru a solenoid and show needle deflection on a galvanometer (the galvanometer may be used with the overhead projector)

5) Eddy Currents:

Demonstrate the formation of eddy currents in a conductor moving thru a magnetic field with two conducting plates (one has slots cut in it) that swing between the poles of a magnet.

6) Jumping Ring:

Demo attaches to an electromagnet that connects to an AC wall source. AC coil with iron core + rings.

7) Solenoid:

Wires winding around nail + battery

8) Handheld generator/electric motor

9) Motor:

Big magnet + square current loop = handmade electric motor coil (turning loop).

Polarization demos:

1) Polarizing Sheets:

3 Square sheets. Works great with overhead projector. Additional sheets provided.

2) Microwave transmitter, receiver, and grid

3) Lucite cubic container + wood block for light collimator.

Faradays Law:

1) Turning Loop:

Handmade electric motor coil.

2) Faraday's Law flashlight

Lenzs Law:

1) Eddy Current Apparatus:

Double tube of aluminum and acrylic

Wave motion:

1) Springs:

Different sizes of springs allow you to demonstrate transverse and longitudinal waves, reflection and transmission at a boundary

2) Standing Wave:

Apparatus allows you to display a standing wave on a string and demonstrate the relationship between frequency and the number of nodes.


1) Fiber Optics and a He-Ne Laser.

Demonstrate how optical fibers work (total internal reflection.)

2) Calcite crystal

3) Cloud chamber