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Saturday, June 12, 2021

You Must Weigh Some Water. All You’ve Received Is a Paper Clip

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Let’s suppose you must measure the mass of some water, and also you wish to assemble a scale to do it. However you’re in a traditional home crammed with regular stuff. There’s no fancy scientific gear. Are you able to do it with a standard family merchandise?

I feel that is certainly attainable, and I’ll attempt to do it—with a paper clip.

OK, however why? This began with my work because the technical marketing consultant for the CBS present MacGyver. My job was to test the scientific plausibility of various hacks and typically counsel ways in which MacGyver might get out of a tough state of affairs. Considered one of MacGyver’s favourite issues to make use of was a paper clip—so I figured I might see what number of issues I might make from them.

To date, I’ve made some cool paper clip-based devices.

It is simply enjoyable making difficult objects from primary elements—it is the MacGyver method.

Now for the size. This might sound easy, however there’s going to be some graphing concerned such that this is likely to be extra acceptable as a weblog publish as an alternative of a video. Let’s do it.

Bear in mind, the purpose right here is to measure the mass of some water. Since we’re on the floor of the Earth, there’s a fixed relationship between mass and weight—so we’re technically going to measure the water’s weight. What is the distinction between mass and weight? Right here is my full clarification, however the quick reply is that mass is the quantity of matter (protons, neutrons, electrons) a factor is manufactured from and weight is the gravitational drive exerted on that object by the Earth.

So, how do you measure weight? It seems that the majority of our measurement instruments are literally for measuring distance. (It is true—test it out.) On this case, we are able to decide the burden (and thus the mass) of one thing by measuring the deflection of a paper clip, or how a lot it bends. In case you have straightened a paper clip out into a protracted wire, the extra you push on one finish, the extra it bends. Nevertheless, when it’s curled up into its regular paper clip form, it’s far more tough to fold. That is similar to the drive required to stretch a spring, which is way more durable to deform than a straight wire. Nevertheless, for a super spring, the stretch distance is linearly proportional to the stretching drive, and that may not be true with a bending paper clip.

So the concept is that if we flatten out our paper clip, we are able to flip it right into a lever arm that may assist us weigh our water.

Let’s construct this factor. Here’s what I’ve.

{Photograph}: Rhett Allain

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