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Jeff Rowe
Jeff Rowe
Jeffrey Rowe has almost 40 years of experience in all aspects of industrial design, mechanical engineering, and manufacturing. On the publishing side, he has written well over 1,000 articles for CAD, CAM, CAE, and other technical publications, as well as consulting in many capacities in the design … More »

Want a Challenge? How About a Basic Physics Test?

January 13th, 2015 by Jeff Rowe

How long has it been since you really thought about your engineering roots? By that I mean basic math and physics.

Recently, I thought about it a lot. This past fall I enrolled in a computational physics class in Optics. It was a real eye-opener, especially the math part – calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, etc. Although I enjoyed the challenge of the physics, I struggled for several weeks with the math – trying to recall principles after (quite) a few years removed from the classroom. I caught on, though, and eventually caught up with the rest of the class.

While maybe not totally applicable to hard physics, the following video illustrates some basic physics principles with regard to shatter and fracture:

Voronoi Fracture and Shatter Lab Tests – Blender & Bullet Physics

Keep in mind, this video was created using Blender, a free and open-source 3D software product used for animated films, visual effects, art, 3D printed models, interactive 3D applications, and video games.

As for testing your basic physics knowledge, check out a simple online test here.

Admittedly, this “test” was as much about history as it was about actual physic principles, but I found it fun nonetheless.

I had to guess on one of the questions, but in spite of that, I answered all 17 questions correctly. I don’t know what that means, but I was pleased with my result.

How did you do on the test? Do you know of any other online physics or math tests?  Let us know.

Never stop learning and challenging yourself!

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2 Responses to “Want a Challenge? How About a Basic Physics Test?”

  1. Mike LaCroix says:

    Watched the video but since all of the events were simulations I feel the algorithms used still need some refining. As an example, the one inwhich the chalk was attached to the chain, when the chalk was released the movement of the chain and chalk were not correct as the chalk should not have rotated upon release. Good demonstrations but not as accurate as it could be. As for the physics test I thought that it was pretty simple (Grade 8 at best) and one of the questions had the wrong answer. In question 3 it asks, “What is the applied force needed to move an object” with “Work” being the correct answer. But, work is defined (in Physics and math) as W=F x d where W is WORK, F is FORCE and d is DISTANCE. Thus by that definition WORK is not a force but the result of some force causing some object (mass) to move some distance. I would suggest that the person who created the test should take a physics refresher course.

    • Jeff Rowe Jeff Rowe says:

      Thanks for the feedback.

      As for the video, the simulations are not totally accurate, but keep in mind, they were produced with free, open source software. The algorithms could be refined, but the creator chose to show hat could be done “out of the box.”

      The physics test was indeed “basic,” and presented more for fun than anything. Definitely nothing “serious” or intended as review material for a Professional Engineer (PE) exam.

      I agree with your assessment of Question #3. I also saw that a couple of the questions could actually be argued to have more than one correct answer, but again, this was intended to be a fun exercise.

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