08 Jan '15, 9am

Measuring the Plank Constant With Lego

For nearly 130 years, the kilogram has been defined by a small platinum and iridium cylinder sitting in a vault outside Paris. Every other unit of measurement is defined by reproducible physical phenomenon; the second is a precise number of oscillations of a cesium atom, and a meter is the length light travels in 1/299792458th of a second. Only the kilogram is defined by an actual object, until NIST and the International Committee of Weights and Measures defines it as a function of the Plank constant. How do you measure the Plank constant? With a Watt balance. How do you build a Watt balance? With Lego, of course . A Watt balance looks like a double-armed scale where one weight can be compared to another weight of known mass. Instead of using two arms, a Watt balance only has one arm, brought into balance by a current flowing through a coil. The mechanical power in the bal...

Full article: http://hackaday.com/2015/01/08/measuring-the-plank-consta...

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