Radioactive Half Life Lab


Welcome to the Lab component of Physics II. All our labs use simulation applications of real laboratory equipment that are combined with measurement and graphing tools to allow you to explore, observe and analyze experiments. Each week you will complete one laboratory exercise using a virtual lab application and then use your results to write a formal lab report. Each experiment will be based around one main topic.

For this week’s lab you will use the Half-life simulation. Download and read the following user guide to familiarize yourself with the simulation.

Half-Life User’s Guide

Download the instructions for two laboratory activities you will complete this week. You may wish to print them out and use to collect and organize your results.

Half-Life Lab

Use the answers to the laboratory questions to help you write your lab report. Your report will focus on investigating the change in activity of a radioactive isotope with time and determining the half-life of an isotope graphically. You should discuss the effect of time on radioactive activity

The lab report will have the following six sections. Include section headings in bold at the beginning of each section.

1.Introduction – Explain the purpose of this laboratory and what results you expect to see in this experiment.

2.Background – Discuss the concepts that form the foundation for this lab. You should address what you learned from the weekly lectures and readings that are related to the lab.

3.Methodology – Describe the apparatus that was used in the experiment(s) and how it was used in performing the experiments. Also explain what tools were available within the laboratory that allowed you to collect or analyze the data.

4.Data – Enter the data that you collected in the lab. You can use screen shots from the Data Table within the Pivot Interactives labs. Data should be clearly labeled with physical quantities and units.

5.Analysis – Analyze your results. If your Data Table included Calculated Columns, then the equation you used in those calculations should be included and described here. Any graphs created with the data go in this section, as well as your interpretations of their meaning. Were your results consistent with your original expectations?

6.Conclusion – Provide a concise summary of the results of your experiment(s) – what you did, what you found and what it means. Speculate on possible sources of experimental error and/or uncertainty within the experiment. Describe an additional experiment that could be run with this equipment to expand on what you’ve learned OR explain how you could use this equipment to answer another real-world problem.