Date Presented

Spring 4-12-2022

Document Type

Capstone

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Department

Physics

First Advisor

Kenneth Minschwaner

Abstract

Using a Millikan oil drop apparatus, information obtained from drops falling at terminal velocity and suspended between capacitor plates can be used to calculate the charge q on a oil drops. Using a large number of drops, we attempt to determine the value of the fundamental electric charge e that best fits the equation q e = n, where n is an integer. By attempting to minimize the square of the non-integer residual for all drops, the best fit value for e obtained was emeasured = (3.8 ± 0.4 ∗ 10−19) C. As the tabulated and defined value of etabulated ≈ 1.602 ∗ 10−19C is far outside the bounds of random error, there was likely significant systematic error with the experimental setup or issues with data analysis. Potential sources of experimental error contributing to this discrepancy are examined, and the drawbacks of using a simple residual minimization formula are discussed.

Share

COinS