Mechanical Chaotic Oscillator
University of Wisconsin – River Falls, July 8 - 14, 2019 (PICUP and Immersion)
Participants in this Immersion will also need to register for the PICUP Summer Faculty Development Workshop.
The rotation of a magnetic dipole in an oscillating magnetic field varies from stable oscillations to chaotic motion, depending on the system parameters. The Mechanical Chaotic Oscillator developed at CSUC allows complete control of all system parameters, and can be used for high-resolution studies of chaotic motion, phase space diagrams, Poincaré plots, and observations of bifurcations on the path to chaos. This particular chaotic system is analogous to a circular pendulum with an oscillating horizontal component of gravitational force.
The apparatus is smaller than a breadbox, connects to a standard USB port for data collection and instrument control, and uses no special lab equipment or dedicated computer hardware. It is controlled by a “Teensy” microcontroller which synthesizes the drive signal and tracks position and velocity of the rotor.
Cost estimate: The apparatus can be built for less than $300, if the necessary tools (i.e. laser cutter) are available at the home institution. (Participants will of course keep the one they build during this Immersion.)
Host and Mentor:
Eric Ayars. My senior thesis as an undergraduate physics major was on this exact system, but back in the dark ages computers couldn’t track this much data, DAC’s couldn’t generate signals this precisely, and devices like the Teensy 3.1 microcontroller board and benchtop laser cutters were pure science fiction. I love designing and building new instruments for teaching physics, and really enjoy sharing ideas with fellow teachers.
Dr. Eric Ayars, Professor and Chair of Physics, CSU Chico, Campus Box 202, CSU Chico, Chico CA 95929-0202.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Phone: (530) 898-6967.
Please note that the Jonathan F. Reichert Foundation has established a grant program to help purchase apparatus used in Laboratory Immersions. Limitations and exclusions apply, but generally speaking the foundation may support up to 40% of the cost of the required equipment. FPGAs are likely excluded; however, apparatus controlled by an FPGA might be supported.