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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:

Class Syllabus
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 to the lab session prepared. Printout the lab worksheets for that lab session in advance, and read over it before coming to lab. There will be a 5 minute quiz over the lab to be done that day at the beginning of the lab session.

2. You must bring that session’s worksheet, and the required material, listed on the course syllabus, to lab each session.

3. The lab report, from the previous lab session, will be due at the very beginning of session. Please place it on the Instructor’s desk as soon as you arrive in the lab room.


During the Lab

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

2. During the first 5 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 your assigned lab group- 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. Your lab group must complete the described check out procedure, and be signed out by the lab instructor before you will be allowed to leave the lab room. If you leave prior to being signed out points will be deducted from your grade for that session’s lab report.


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. You will lose 5 points if the lab report is not turned in at the beginning of the lab session. Even if it is turned in later that same day you still lose those five points. 5 points a day, for each day, after that, not counting weekends or holidays. After one week late lab reports will not be accepted, and you will simply receive a 0 for that lab report.

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

Vector Addition

Graphical Analysis


P04 Position, Velocity, and Acceleration (BOARD NOTES)

Acceleration of a Cart (BOARD NOTES)

Projectile Motion and Conservation of Energy (BOARD NOTES)

Atwood's Machine (BOARD NOTES)

Collision - Impulse and Momentum (BOARD NOTES)

Centripetal Force (BOARD NOTES)

Rotational Inertia (BOARD NOTES)

Archimedes Principle

Simple Harmonic Montion - Mass on a Spring

Newton's Second Law - Constant Force

Standing Waves

Specific Heat

Ideal Gas Law

1631 Physics Experiments

Appendix - Used in several experiments

Electrostatic Charging (Board Notes)

Electric Field Around a Conductor (Board Notes)

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

Kirchhoff's Law - Under development. UPDATED-2/20 - Correct Circuit Diagrams

RC and LRC Circuits (Board Notes) (Board Notes)

Induction Magnet Through a Coil

Reflection and Refraction & Protractor (Required) (Board Notes)

Thin Lenses & Concave Mirror (Board Notes #1) (Board Notes #2)

Diffraction of Light (Board Notes)

Coulomb's Law


1971 Physics Experiments

Appendix - Used in several experiments.

Electrostatic Charging (Board Notes)

Electric Fields Around a Conductor (Board Notes)

Ohm's Law (APPENDIX) (Board Notes)

Kirchhoff's Law (Board Notes) (750 Interface 850 Interface) - Correct Circuit Diagrams 2/20

RC and LRC Circuits (Board Notes) (Board Notes)

Induction (Board Notes)

Reflection and Refraction (Board Notes) & Protractor (Required)

Thin Lenses & Concave Mirror (Board Notes #1) (Board Notes #2)

Diffraction of Light (Board Notes)

Bernoulli Principle

Specific Heat

Ideal Gas Laws