Thursday, July 05, 2007

University Open Day

Today, there were so many kids running around the college and the department. It's our Open Day here. I had forgotten that I had volunteered to help out until I got a reminder email yesterday. So, here I am, in the picture, explaining the finer details of electrical machines to random kids.

We had a rather interesting set of gadgets to demonstrate. It starts with the basics of induction with currents producing magnetic fields that induce currents, which produces more magnetic fields. This was demonstrated with a setup involving a massive coil of wire wrapped around a steel core. Aluminum rings float when they are dropped into the core.

Then, we move onto the next setup, which has a series of single phase cores, that generate a magnetic field. By tossing sheets of aluminum onto the field, we can show levitation and how adding more sheets actually generate a stronger field.

Next, we bring in the concept of 3 phase current where we show a synchronous motor running. After that, we unwrap the motor onto a strip running on 3 phase current. This is used to illustrate the electromotive effect. The aluminum bar moves horizontally across the field when placed on top of it.

Finally, we deliver the coup de grace with the coolest display. We make a 3 phase tube with gradually increasing number of rings of each phase. This creates an increasing magnetic field, which results in an acceleration. Then we put in various materials into the tube, and fire it out onto a target. That's me, in the picture, describing one of the bullets that we fired out onto the target.

This was generally regarded as the coolest display in the room. You cannot beat an electrical cannon with anything else. I met another Malaysian, who was also demonstrating the same series of gadgets. It's surprising how small this world is. I was initially surprised that she didn't understand the principles involved. Then, I found out that she's actually a chemical engineer, but she's did a Masters is microelectronics and is now doing a PhD on CNT in our division.

PS. My hair is a mess. I need to cut it soon.


dan said...

the female student here looks a bit constipated. what did u do?!

Shawn Tan said...

maybe the cannon was a little to violent for her.. or maybe the bullet was a little too scary..

dan said...

haha... how far can you launch those things anyway? :P it can be weaponised!! :P

Shawn Tan said...

with the laminated bullet, it can pierce through the plank of wood at about 10 yards.. So, not good enuff to blow tanks up, but can certainly cause serious bodily harm..

dan said...

oooo how thick is the wood? :P or actually if we measure the muzzle velocity and also the weight of the bullet, we'll know the energy of the bullet and hence decide if it can be weaponised :P

Shawn Tan said...

the plank was about 1 inch thick.. quite fun anyway.. it was the best exhibit in the lab.. cause the rest were all quite theoretical..