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News > School News > Physics Peer-Reviewed Paper Published

Physics Peer-Reviewed Paper Published

Badminton Girls Published in an Academic Journal - Using Superconductors to Demonstrate Lenz’s Law
13 Jun 2019
School News
A magnet appears to float
A magnet appears to float
Badminton School’s Science Outreach team have published their third paper in the peer-reviewed journal Physics Education this week.  The team of student authors included Jenny from Year 12 (who also edited much of the paper), Ria Emma, Scarlett Amelia, Katie and Nimesha from Year 11.
 
The journal is published by the Institute of Physics and is aimed at developing inspiring teaching of physics in universities and schools, with all articles subject to academic scrutiny before publication.  Most papers in the journal are published by academics, with a few published by teachers; it is almost unprecedented for students to be published in this journal.
 
The paper examines a phenomenon known as Lenz’s Law.  When a magnet is moved close to an electrical conductor, a current is induced.  The law states that to conserve energy, this current will have its own magnetic field that opposes the magnet’s motion.
 
This can be demonstrated by dropping a magnet down a metal pipe; the magnet falls much slower than expected due to the induced magnetic field acting to provide a force to resist its motion.  However the magnet will never stop moving because electrical resistance in the tube dissipates the current. 
 
But what would happen if you could turn electrical resistance off?
 
The Outreach team was able to find a tube made from bismuth strontium calcium copper oxide (BSCCO) which becomes a superconductor when cooled below -165oC, a temperature easily reached with our favourite substance - liquid nitrogen.
 
Superconductors are amazing materials that have no electrical resistance. With no electrical resistance, there is no opposition to currentflow and so a magnet dropped into a superconducting BSCCO tube will remain trapped in the tube for ever, unless its temperature rises above -165oC. 
 
The photograph shows a magnet 5 minutes after it was dropped into the superconducting tube!
 
You can see the demonstration and some other clips filmed to support the article on YouTube:
 
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLpliM_vZ6WokmWShbI7DN3kz1LU3UXUkY
 
The full paper is available from Physics Education’s website (https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1361-6552/ab247e), but you require a subscription to the journal to view it.  Copyright had to be ceded to the journal as consideration for publication.
 
Huge congratulations go to the student authors, who are among the youngest people in the country to be published in an academic journal!
 

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