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Physics Lab: General Information

Lab Sessions

Each week there will be a lab located in MS 3.02.14, MS 3.02.16, MS 3.02.30, or MS 3.02.34 depending on what class you are in. To view the respective lab schedule, please click on the physics course you are taking:

PHY1611 (Algebra-based Physics I lab),
PHY1631 (Algebra-based Physics II lab),

PHY1951 (Physics for Scientists & Engineers I lab),
PHY1971 (Physics for Scientists & Engineers II Lab),

REMEMBER: No Food, No Drinks, and No Sandals inside of the lab.

Before the lab

1. Come well-prepared. Read over the introduction and procedure of the lab in the lab manual. Look up the relevant material in the course text book.

2. You must bring the lab manual and a USB drive to the lab.

3. The lab report is due at the beginning of the lab session.


During the Lab

1. Arrive on time (preferably early) to the lab.

2. During the first 10 minutes of the lab there will be a quiz about the topic presented.

3. During the next 20 minutes, your Instructor will discuss the working principle of the experiment and demonstrate how to perform the measurements.

4. Work in groups of 4 - no exceptions. Each partner must have his/her own data and submit separate lab reports. Do not leave USB behind and all data stored on the hard drive will be erased upon logging off.

5. Before you leave the lab, you (each member of your group) must sign and bring your lab to your Instructor to be checked. After your instructor signs it, this sheet will be returned to you.


Lab Report

1. Answer all assigned questions in the RESULTS AND QUESTIONS section of your lab manual. For the lab report, you will hand in this finished section with all necessary tables, graphs and calculations.

2. "Scientific Notation" and appropriate "Significant Figures" must be practiced in all Lab Reports. In the Tables, every entry must have its unit.

3. For graphs, you should use a computer with a standard spreadsheet. Each graph-axis must have a label and appropriate units. Represent data points with clearly visible symbols (circles, squares, triangles, etc.). Do not connect data points in zigzag lines. Choose the "scatter" style (with discrete symbols) for your plots. If a certain data point falls far away from the general trend of the graphs it is likely that there is a problem with the measurement(s) for this point. In a best fit to the data, do NOT include such a point. If you are not sure, ask your instructor.

4. The lab is due at the next week's lab session. Normally, your graded quiz and Lab Report will be given back to you during the next lab meeting one week after you submit this report.

5. Late labs are accepted UP TO ONE WEEK. You will lose 10% first day and 5% per (business) day afterwards.

6. Absence from a lab: You are expected to attend all lab sessions at the assigned times. Students missing a lab due to sickness or major emergency must provide the appropriate documents for a written excuse (see Excused Absence Form). If you are participating in a sports event, a similar excuse must be provided.

7. You are excused from one lab experiment.

8. Students found cheating (copying from other students, and faking data) will be given a grade of zero for the experiment, and will be reported. Please respect the honor code of UTSA and code of conduct for students.


Cover page for lab reports

Extra-Help Office Hours Located in room MS 3.02.18

Extra-help: How to create graphs using excel

How to draw a best-fit line manually and determine the slope from it.

Capstone introduction

1611 & 1951 Physics Experiments

Significant Figures

Graphical Analysis


Circumference Diameter

P04 Position, Velocity, and Acceleration

P07 Acceleration of a Cart

13B Projectile Motion

P10 Atwood's Machine

Conservation of Energy

P11 Collision - Impulse and Momentum

P26 Centripetal Force

P22 Rotational Inertia

P13 Archimedes Principle

P14 Simple Hardmonic Montion - Mass on a Spring

P08 - Newton's Second Law - Constant Force

Standing Waves

1631 Physics Experiments

Appendix - Used in several experiments

64 Electrostatic Charging

66 Electric Field Around a Conductor

67 Ohm's Law & Resistors (Be sure to read both labs!)

70 Kirchhoff's Law

71 Charging & Discharging the RC Circuit

72 Resonant Frequency of the LRC Circuit

79 Induction Magnet Through a Coil

57 Reflection and Refraction & Protractor (Required)

58 Focal Length of a Concave Mirror

56 Object and Image Distances for a Thin Lens

63 Diffraction of Light

Coulomb's Law - Complete Experiment

1971 Physics Experiments

Appendix - Used in several experiments.

Electrostatic Charging

Electric Fields Around a Conductor

Ohm's Law (APPENDIX)

Kirchhoff's Law

Charging & Discharging an RC Circuit

Resonant Frequency of an LRC Circuit


Reflection and Refraction

Focal Length of a Concave Mirror

Object and Image Distances for a Thin Lens

Diffraction of Light

Bernoulli Principle

Coulomb's Law