PhysicsLAB

Physics Olympics
Table of Events


2000 Schedule

To read a detailed description, click on any given event's name.


BOTTLE MUSIC
records: 45 pts, 49 pts, 60 pts,

This competition involves two parts: tuning the bottles and playing a tune.

The objective in tuning the bottles is to duplicate the standard C-major musical scale by ear alone. The objective in playing a tune is to perform a short musical tune using only the tones generates by the water filled bottles.

This is a three-person team event where the total involvement of the team will be included as part of the scoring. Teams must compete in both parts of the competition. The excitation of the bottles is to be accomplished by blowing across the mouth of the bottle. Striking bottles will not be accepted. Musical instruments, such as tuning forks or pitch pipes are not to be used in the competition. Teams are required to bring their own bottles. Water funnels will be provided at the site.

Tuning:

Each three-member team is required to bring eight identical unmarked 16-oz bottles, unfilled and subject to examination and randomization by the judges. It is the job of the team to tune the unfilled bottles by adding water provided at the site. There is a five-minute time limit for tuning.

The Tuning competition will be scored as follows:

1. Time (limit of five minutes) 1-10 points
2. Pitch (absolute and relative) 1-10 points
3. Teamwork 1-10 points

Playing:

The eight tuned bottles from the tuning competition must be used as the foundation for the song used in the playing competition. In addition to the eight bottles from the tuning, the team may bring up to 16 glass bottles of any size and shape. These additional bottles may be tuned as desired but must be already tuned prior to the competition. The team may choose any short musical selection desired but all sounds must be generated by blowing across the bottle opening with a five-minute time limit.

The playing competition will be scored as follows:

1. Creativity and Originality 1-10 points
2. Quality of performance 1-10 points
3. Teamwork 1-10 points

Team score will be found by summing the scores on the two sub-parts.

Each of the three members of the winning team shall receive a one-course tuition scholarship good for any regular course at DBCC.

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BRIDGE BUILDING
records: 35.5 lbs, 56.75 lbs, 92 lbs, 96 lbs

The purpose of this competition is to build a balsa wood bridge to support the maximum weight.

Materials and Construction Rules:

1. Total mass of the bridge plus cement shall not exceed 110.0 grams.

2. The bridge shall contain no element wider than neither 0.953 cm nor thicker than 0.635-cm commercial balsa stock. Two or more single pieces each separately qualifying may be attached by the student without violating this requirement.

3. Balsa wood and glue are the only materials that may be used.

4. No fastening mechanism except mechanical interlock of the balsa pieces or gluing with commercial glue is allowed.

Design and Capacity Rules:

5. The bridge shall allow a 10.0-cm cube to slide underneath its span without touching.

6. The bridge shall allow a 40.0-cm wide 2.0 cm tall board to slide underneath without touching.

7. The bridge must be "free standing."

8. The bridge must provide an approximately horizontal "roadway" above the 10 cm level and extending at least 40 cm upon which a small car of the "Hot Wheels" or "Matchbox" variety can roll if given a slight push by hand.

9. This "roadway" must allow the standard test frame to rest on it at its center with its load support rods extending to the sides.

Testing:

1. The bridge will be placed upon a test stand which will consist of two flat, level surfaces allowing all of the "foot" of the bridge on each side of the span to rest flat.

2. Two one-inch (1.27 cm radius) dowels will be rested on the "roadway" separated by 6.0 cm and the test block (10.5 cm long X 3.68 cm X 2.54 cm high) will be rested upon them. Either a single steel rod on the middle of the test block, or two rods 6.0 cm apart (thus 3.0 cm from center in either direction) will be rested on the block extending beyond the sides of the bridge in either direction. Load will be applied to the bridge on these projecting rods.

3. In its simplest form, a hopper will be hung from the rods and weight added slowly.

4. Testing will end in either the catastrophic collapse of the bridge (i.e., a broken member) or at any loud crackling sound indicating that collapse is impending. With the approval of the student builder, testing may proceed beyond a crackling sound, but will stop there in his or her absence.

The score will based on the greatest weight the bridge supports before catastrophic collapse or any loud crackling sound indicating that collapse is impending. 

Each of the three members of the winning team shall receive a one-course tuition scholarship good for any regular course at DBCC. In addition, Texas Instrucments has provided a TI-85 graphing calculator for the winner of this event.

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COATHOOK CANNON
records: 2.6 cm, 4.5 cm, 86.5%, 88.2%

The objective of the coathook cannon competition is to use a simple apparatus to launch a projectile on a predictable trajectory to hit a prescribed target after clearing an intervening obstacle.

1. Competitors may design and construct their own "coathook cannons" prior to the competition, or they may use the cannon available at the site.

2. All cannons are made from a single wire coat hanger, consisting of the single round hook at one end to hang over a bar, a long straight section, and a right-angle bend at the bottom to a short spur to hold the projectile.

3. The projectile is to be a 2.54-cm steel or brass ball with a hole drilled through the center to accommodate the lower spur of the cannon. Such spheres are available in physics labs where they are used as pendulum bobs. Competitors may use their own ball or use the one supplied, which will have a 0.635-cm hole.

4. All cannons are to be suspended from 1.3-cm steel launch rods that will be provided at the launch site.

5. Release occurs when the cannon swings and encounters a crossbar, adjustable in height, which may be positioned at any distance in front of the launch rod by the competitors.

6. The projectile must clear a barrier, adjustable in height, which will be set beforehand by random draw, but will not be higher dm 50 cm. This may be placed at any position between the release and the target, for example the midpoint, by the competitors.

The Competition:

1. Each team will draw for a barrier height and be furnished a target range.

2. The team will have a maximum of ten minutes for calculations and planning before the start of their round.

3. The team will be given a maximum of three minutes to arrange their cannon and position the crossbar and barrier (which will be preset by the judges to the drawn height).

NO PRACTICE SHOTS WILL BE ALLOWED!

4. The projectile must be drawn back and released from between thumb and forefinger of the competitor. No mechanical release shall be allowed.

5. Only one competitor may touch the apparatus during a run, although other team members may take measurements and provide information during the run.

6. No measuring instruments may be used which attach to the launching apparatus. Apart from this, any measuring instruments or calculating devices are allowed.

7. Three minutes will be allowed for the three shots that will be scored.

8. The distance (D) from the point at target level directly below the cannon attachment rod to the center of the target will be recorded.

9. Each of the three impacts will be spotted and the radial distance (X) from the center of the target will be recorded.

The score earned will be calculated from: Score = { D - [X(l) + X(2) + X(3)] } / D x I 00

Each of the three members of the winning team shall receive a one-course tuition scholarship good for any regular course at DBCC.

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DOWN HILL COASTER
records: 1.0 mm, 2.0 mm, 2.5 cm

A team of up to three students is to design and build a vehicle that will travel exactly 2 meters down a 15 plywood grade and then coast on level plywood coming to rest with the front wheels on a line exactly 2 meters from the end of the incline.

1. There is no limit on the amount or type of materials used, but the finished vehicle must fit inside a 10 cm (4 inch) x 15 cm (6 inch) x 30 cm (12 inch) box. Lubrication may be used, but cannot dirty the plywood grade. All parts must remain within the vehicle throughout the trip.

2. The only source of power allowed is the result of the gravitational force exerted on the vehicle down the incline (NO PUSHING). No power source direct or indirect is allowed.

3. Friction - based braking systems may be used.

4. Each contestant will be allowed only one run.

The winner will be the vehicle coming to rest with its front wheels closet to the 2-meter line. Measurements will be made in 0.5 cm units with partial units being assigned the next higher value. The measurements will be made between the point of contact of the wheel with the ground and 2-meter line. One point will be deducted for each cm the front axle is away (either side) from the 2 cm line.

The individual producing the winning coaster shall receive a one-course tuition scholarship good for any regular course at DBCC.

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EGG DROP
records: 9.2 x 10-4, 20.5 x 10-4, 2.03, 13.3

The objective of this event is to package an egg so that it may survive a fall from a considerable height and remain unbroken.

1. Participants will design and construct a packaging according to the following specifications:

a. Maximum weight of 3.0 newtons (300 grams).
b. Maximum length of the package including its support ring is 30.0 cm (12 inches).
c. A support ring of 2.5 cm (1 inch) minimum I.D. and 4.5 cm maximum O.D. at the top of the package to be used during its release.
d. Maximum width of the package is 15.0 cm (6 inches).

2. A grade A medium chicken egg will be supplied for each entry. It cannot be chemically or physically altered. It must be inserted into the package immediately prior to the drop. The contestant will have a maximum of ten minutes to insert the egg and present the package for testing.

3. The egg packages must be checked in, measured, loaded with eggs and stored for testing in the morning according to schedule.

4. The procedure for testing later in the day, at a posted time and place, will be as follows:

a. The package will be attached to the release mechanism by means of the support ring.
b. The package will be dropped from the fifth floor to the tile and concrete surface of the first floor in the Science Building West Atrium indoors.
c. Time of fall will be measured to the nearest tenth of a second.
d. The competitor must open the package and present the unbroken egg within three minutes of the drop time.

For unbroken eggs the score will be calculated using: Score = 1 / (time x length x weight).

The individual producing the winning bridge shall receive a one-course tuition scholarship for DBCC.  In addition, Texas Instruments has provided a TI-85 graphing calculator for the winner of this event.

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FOIL BARGE
records: 76 pennies, 84 pennies, 86 pennies, 88 pennies

The purpose of this competition is for a three person team to construct an aluminum foil barge, out of materials provided at the site, that can hold the greatest weight without sinking.

1. There will be a ten minute time limit for the construction of all barges.

2. All barges will be constructed during the same ten minute time period, with no modifications allowed after the constructed period has elapsed.

3. After construction, the barges will be held in the shipyard until the assigned time for testing.

4. All barges will be constructed from a 15 x 15 cm piece of standard aluminum foil provided at the event site. No other material may be used. There are no other design or shape limitations.

5. One team member must be designated as barge captain and be present for the testing. He or she shall do all handling of the barge. Barges will be tested in a container of water by allowing the competitor to slowly place pennies into the barge until the competitor decides it has reached a safe limit of loading. -If the barge sinks it is disqualified.

6. After the competitor stops adding weight, the barge must remain afloat for at least one 1-minute before it qualifies to be scored. If it sinks during this minute it is disqualified.

7. The barge captain shall have a maximum of five minutes to add weights to the barge. If that time elapses before he or she has chosen to stop, no further weight may be added and the one minute free-float time test will begin automatically.

At the end of a successful one minute free-float test, the barge may be scored by counting the number of pennies supported.

Each of the three members of the winning team shall receive a one-course tuition scholarship good for any regular course at DBCC.

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INSTANT POSTER
records: 91 points, 95 points

The objective of this competition is to produce the poster judged to be the most (a) to the point, (b) visually compelling, and (c) best executed of the posters submitted for judgment.

1. Each team of 3 students will be allowed to bring to the construction site a shopping bag of their own materials. These may include (but are not limited to):

adhesive - tape and glue
rulers, scissors
construction paper
magazines for photographs
separate printed photographs
old catalogs with apparatus photos
pens, brushes, magic markers, etc.

2. Each team will be provided a standard size sheet of posterboard at the start of the competition. The posterboard provided will be in white OR any standard color of our choosing, at our discretion, and will have an identifying mark on its back, making it official.

3. At the appointed time the topic will be announced to all competing group. (For example a typical topic might be "Newton's First Law of Motion.") Teams will then have one hour to turn in a completed poster on the announced topic for judging.

4. Posters will be judged on:

1. Appropriateness to the topic 1-50 points
2. Degree to which the poster is visually striking, attention-getting and keeping power 1-20 points
3. Neatness and professionalism in the execution of the design 1-30 points

Each of the three members of the winning team shall receive a one-course tuition scholarship good for any regular course at DBCC.

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LAZER ZAP
records:  0.5 cm, 3.51 cm, 7.5 cm, 32 cm

The objective of this event is for a team of four students to direct a laser beam around an obstacle and back to its original point of incidence on a screen using only the provided optical components, which are to be placed in the light path by the students in positions and orientations of their choosing.

THE PROBLEM:

1.  A laser will be placed in a fixed position at one end of a table with a screen a distance of D away at the other end of the table, such that, when turned on, the laser beam is incident on a marked target dot on the screen.

2.  Neither the laser nor the screen may be moved during the competition.

3.  A barrier of width W will be introduced in the light path at a distance X from the laser.

4.  The job of the team is to direct the beam from its original direction, around the barrier and back to fall onto to the original point of incident on the unmoved screen.

5.  To deflect the beam two prisms will be provided:

a semicircular prism of radius R and index of refraction, N(1)
a 45-45-90 degree triangular prism of index refraction, N(2)

6. The original light path will be marked on the table as a reference and each prism will be supplied with a sheet of polar coordinate graph paper to allow setting angles.

THE COMPETITION:

1.  The team will receive a starting time when first reporting in for the day.

2.  At the appointed time the team will be given five minutes to see the apparatus and discuss the setup among themselves or ask questions.

3.  Following this, the team will designate one or two of the team members as experimentalists and the remaining two or three as theorists. The experimentalist(s) will leave to return in a half-hour and the theorists will move to a different room.

4.  The theorists will be given precise values of D, W, X, R, N(1) and N(2), as defined above, and will have a maximum of 30 minutes to calculate and specify the precise positioning of each prism to divert the laser beam from its original path, around the barrier and back to its original point of incidence on the screen.

5.  The theorists shall be allowed trig tables and regular calculators; judges before use will erase programmable calculators.

6.  The theorists will produce, on a sheet of paper provided, the most precise specifications for the positioning of each prism on the table surface that they can.

7.  This specification sheet will be handed to the event judge at the end of 30 minutes, complete or not. The judge, in turn, will deliver it to the returning experimentalist(s) who has been absent.

8.  Without conferring with his or her theorist colleagues, the experimentalist(s) will have 10 minutes to follow the specifications on the sheet and set up the prisms as directed on the sheet as precisely as possible.

9.  Following this, the judge will turn on the laser and measure the distance from its original target dot to its new position on the screen.

The team closet to the original position will win. 

Each of the four members of the winning team shall receive a one-course tuition scholarship good for any regular course at DBCC.

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PAPER AIRPLANE

The objective of this competition has been changed for this year and is NEW. The objective of this competition is to produce a paper airplane from given materials at the contest location which will fly the longest time and greatest straight-line distance from the launch point before hitting the ground.

Preparation:

1.  Competitors will construct their airplane at the launch site and only from materials provided there.

2.  The following materials will be supplied to each competitor:

            One 22 x 28 cm sheet of ditto paper
            One 30-cm long piece of 1.9-cm wide transparent cellophane tape.
            One #1-GEM paper clip

3.  Ten minutes will be allowed to construct the planes.

4.  All planes will be constructed at one time and then checked in with the judges to be placed into the "hanger" until launching begins later in the day. Contestants may not touch their planes until their launch time later in the day.

Test Flights:

1.  Launches will be conducted by each competitor from an elevated platform at one end of the DBCC gymnasium, which is immediately next to the science building.

2.  Each competitor is allowed one and only one launch.

3.  The flight ends when the released plane touches any surface.

4.  The time of flight, T, from launch to the striking of a surface will be measured.

5.  The distance, D, from the point on the floor directly below the launch position to the point on the floor directly below the first point touched by the plane will be measured.

The score for the event will be the time of flight, T, in seconds times the distance of flight, D, in meters.
                                                   S = T x D

The individual producing the winning airplane shall receive a one-course tuition scholarship for DBCC.

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PAPER TOWER
records: 94 cm, 101 cm, 107.5 cm, 120 cm

The purpose of this competition is for a team of three members to construct a freestanding tower of maximum height using a single sheet of paper.

1.  Each team will be supplied with one sheet of 22x28 cm ditto paper and one 50 cm long strip of 1.9 cm wide cellophane tape on arrival at the construction site.

2.  No other materials may be used on the tower. Construction aids such as meter sticks or scissors should be brought to the site.

3.  The sheet of paper may be cut into pieces and reassembled as desired. Parts may be rolled, folded or slit.

4.  Tape is used to fasten parts of the tower together. It may not be used to attach the tower to the floor or any other object. A tower shall be declared freestanding if it remains self-supporting for more than 10 seconds.

5.  Height is determined by measuring the vertical distance from the highest point on the tower to the floor at the end of the 10-second period.

6.  Each team must complete the construction of its tower in ten minutes. The height may be measured as often during that time as the team requests, but the officials do this on a priority basis.

Each of the three members of the winning team shall receive a one-course tuition scholarship good for any regular course at DBCC.

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PRINGLE PACKING
records: 1.43 x 10-4, 2.8 x 10-4, 54.9

The objective of this event is to mail a Pringle potato chip through the U.S. Postal Service and have it arrive still in one whole piece. The Pringle is appropriate because of its standard, non-planar shape and relative fragility. The chip mailed must be a standard size, non-ridged, whole and unadulterated chip.

1. Packaging must be rectangular in shape such that its volume may be calculated from its length, width and height. The Postal Service has a minimum packaging size requirement, which is 3.5 inches x 5 inches x 0.5 inches. Therefore the minimum package volume is 71.7 cubic centimeters.

2. The package material and weight have no restrictions.

3. The postmark date on the package must be on or before one week prior to the Physics Olympics competition day.

4. The package must be mailed through the United States Postal Service using First Class rates.

5 . The person who is labeled as the return addressee shall be the only person allowed to open the package at the competition.

6. The potato chip must be completely removed from the packaging unbroken.

7. The package should be addressed to the following
   The postmark limit date is April 21, 2000.  The Physics Olympics date is April 28, 2000

                     Dr. David M. Riban, Science Department
                     Daytona Beach Community College
                     Daytona Campus
                     P.O. Box 2811
                     1200 Int'l Speedway Blvd.
                     Daytona Beach, FL 32120-2811

Broken chips will be disqualified. The score for each surviving chip will be calculated using:
                     Score = 1 / (mass x volume)

The individual producing the winning container shall receive a one-course tuition scholarship for DBCC.

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SODA STRAW STRONGARM
records: 46 cm, 66 cm, 78.8 cm

The objective of this event is for a 2 or 3 person team to construct the longest possible arm that will support a 100-gram mass.

1. Materials will be supplied at the competition site. Each team will receive 20 plastic (#20) drinking straws and 20 (size # 17) straight pins.

2. Construction time is limited to 20 minutes. Testing is allowed during construction.

3. When the team is ready the judge will witness the official trial.

4. The length of the soda straw strong arm will be measured horizontally by one of the judges.

5. One of the team members will be the sole support for the apparatus. The team member will hold one end of the apparatus while resting his/her elbow or hand on the table provided for a steadying support.

6. The length of the arm will be the horizontal distance from the end of the hand holding the apparatus to the line of force of the 100-gram mass.

The team with the longest arm that is able to support the 100-gram mass will be declared the winner of the event.

Each of the three members of the winning team shall receive a one-course tuition scholarship good for any regular course at DBCC.

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PAPER AIRPLANE PENTATHLON

The paper plane pentathlon is a series of five events involving paper airplanes.  Each participating school shall designate a pair of champion for the competition.  This one set of two champions will be the only participants allowed from that school.  Each of the two champions from each school shall compete separately in each of the five events of the pentathlon.  the higher of the two champion's scores shall be the pentathlon winner.  This school shall be given possession of the DBCC Physics Olympics Silver Anniversary Trophy for the following year.   The school name and the name of the two champions shall be engraved upon the trophy each year.

Scoring:

For each event the top score shall earn 20 points toward the total for the winning school.  Only the top scoring champion's score from any school is eligible for points.  The other champion's score is disregarded.  The second place score is eligible for any whole-number of points up to the one less than the next highest score.   thus, the second place raw score would have to be 19/20 of the first place raw score.  Thus, if the first place raw score is, for example, 4, and the second place raw score is 3, the second team may not earn more than 3/4 the score of the winner, or 15 points.  Each team will earn a number of points in proportion to its fraction of the winning raw score.  However, if two teams have different raw scores they will receive different amounts of points.  For example, if two teams have at least 19/20 of the winner's raw score, the higher scoring team would receive 19 as their score and the other 18 points.  After five events the highest school score wins.

Event 1:  The Lindberg

The plane shall be launched from a starting area atop a building and at least five stories high.

  • Plane shall be constructed by all competitors in the first minutes of the announced competition time.
  • Only one launch is allowed per competitor.
  • The horizontal distance from the launch position to the first place the plane touches anything is the distance recorded.
  • The greatest distance achieved will be awarded 20 points.

Event 2:  The Jimmy Doolittle

Planes must fly at least 5.0 m from a starting point and touch the gym floor as close to a marked line as possible.

  • Competitors will fold planes from the materials provided in the first minutes of the scheduled competition time.
  • Only one flight per competitor is allowed unless the first run hits the floor before it has flown at least 5.0 m.  In this case a second try is allowed.
  • Launch shall be from an elevated launching platform in the gymnasium.

Event 3:  The Wrong Way Corrigan

  • Competitors will fold planes from the materials provided in the first minutes of the scheduled competition time.
  • Only one flight per competitor is allowed unless the first run hits the floor before 6.0 m distance is the winner.
  • the plane must reach 6.0 m from the launch position, turn and return.
  • The plane landing closest to the launch point after qualifying at 6.0 m distance is the winner.
  • The winning flight is awarded 20 points.

Event 4:  The Rip Van Winkle

  • Competitors will fold palnes from the materials provided in the first minutes of the scheduled competition time.
  • Planes will be launched form the fourth floor balcony of the DBCC administration building into the indoor atrium a 20 m x 15 m open space.
  • The time from launch until the plane strikes any surface will be measured.
  • The plane with the longest flight time will be the winner and earn 20 points.

Event 5:  The Curtis LeMay

  • Competitors will fold planes from the materials provided in the first minutes of the scheduled competition time.
  • Planes will be launched from an elevated launching platform in the gymnasium.
  • Three judges will rate the movements of the plane as follows:

90     turn - 1 point
180   turn - 2 points
270   turn - 3 points
360   turn - 4 points
Swoop down & return to level flight - 2 points
Full loop - 4 points
Half loop & Twist to level flight - 6 points
Series of bobs - 2 points per bob
Forward stall - 3 points
Each meter of flight within 50 cm of the floor - 1 point
Reverse turn (right after having turned left for example) - 4 points

 

The plane with the highest average score from the judges will be awarded 20 points.

The two champions of the winning team shall each be awarded a regular one-course tuition scholarship.  In addition, each shall receive a TI-85 graphing calculator.

The school represented by the champions shall be the recipient of the DBCC Physics Olympics Silver Anniversary Trophy and shall retain if for one year.

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