The Personal Particle Accelerator is fun to demonstrate and informally play around with, but when you’re ready for more formal experiments, read on.

The PPA’s design is great for experiments because:

  • there’s plenty of sensors (6 or more IRPS and an optional pressure sensor)
  • the sensor and actuator data is available digitally through the USB in real time.  Any software capable of reading from a serial port (such as the Arduino IDE) will do, but I recommend Processing software as it can create sophisticated graphs and much more.
  • the continuous nature of multiple rotations efficiently allows for large sample collection.  In under a minute, you can collect hundreds of data points !  Just another way in which the PPA is similar to the LHC !
  • its affordability means that multiple parties can perform the same experiment, upload and share the data, resulting in additional insights

One example of the detailed experimental data is the blog on the IRPS design.  I’ve listed a number of proposed experiments, and I’ll perform them myself and write them up over time. Questions/comments very welcome !

1 How does the ball speed vary with voltage ?
2 How does the ball speed vary with air pressure ?
3 How does the ball speed vary with ball size ?
4 How does the repeatability of the ball speed measurements vary with ball size ?
5 How does the ball speed vary with ball material ?
6 How does the ball speed vary with pulse duration and timing ?
7 How does the ball speed vary with orientation of the PPA (eg. the unit sits at an angle between 0 and 90′)
8 How much friction exists between the ball and tube surface ?
9 How much residual magnetism exists in the ball after it has passed through an electromagnet ?
10 What is the angle of internal reflection for the main tube ?