To Determine Radius of Curvature of a Given Spherical Surface by a Spherometer

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We can define a spherometer as a measuring device which has a metallic triangular frame supported on three legs. The tips of these three legs form a triangle that is equilateral and which lie on the radius. In this article we will discover more things about the radius of curvature. There is a leg which is the central leg which can be moved in a direction which is perpendicular. In the below article there is the experiment on how to determine the radius of curvature of a given spherical surface by a spherometer.


To Determine Radius of Curvature of Spherical Surface


Aim of the Experiment: 

To determine radius of curvature of a given spherical surface by a spherometer.


Apparatus: 

a Spherometer for experiment, a convex surface (it may be an unpolished mirror), a big size plane glass slab or mirror which is plain.


Theory of Experiment:

The figure which is shown below is a schematic diagram of a single disk spherometer. It generally consists of a central legs which can be raised or lowered through a threaded hole V that is at the centre of the frame denoted by F. The triangular metallic frame F is supported on three legs of equal length A, B and C.  A vertical scale that is denoted by letter P marked in millimetres or half-millimetres, is known as the main scale or pitch scale. It is also fixed parallel to the central screw, which is at one end of the frame F. This scale is kept very close to the disc rim denoted by letter D but it does not touch the disc D. This scale generally reads the vertical distance when the central leg moves through the hole V. 

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Spherometer Experiment Procedure

  1. Raise the central screw of the spherometer and then press the spherometer gently on the practical note-book to get pricks of the three legs. Then we need to mark these pricks as A, B and C.

  2. Then measure the distance between the pricks and the points by joining the points to form a triangle ABC.

  3. We need to note these distances which are: AB, BC, AC on a notebook and take their mean.

  4. Then we need to find the value of one vertical pitch scale division.

  5. Then determine the pitch and the least count of the spherometer and record it stepwise.

  6. Raise the screw upwards sufficiently.

  7. Place the spherometer on the convex surface so that its three legs rest on it.

  8. Then we need to gently turn the screw downwards till the screw tip just touches the convex surface.

  9. Now note the reading of the circular disc scale which is in line with the vertical scale pitch.

  10.  Remove the spherometer from over the convex surface and place IT over a large size glass plane slab.

  11. Then turn the screw downwards direction and count the number of complete rotations(n1) made by the disc. One rotation becomes complete when the reference reading crosses past the pitch scale.

  12. We need to continue till the tip of the screw just touches the plane surface of the glass slab.

  13.  Note the reading of the circular scale which is finally in line with the vertical pitch scale. Let it be denoted by letter b.

  14.  Now find the number of circular disc scale divisions in the last rotation which is incomplete.

  15.  Record the observation in tabular form.


The Calculations Part:

1.  We need to find the value of h in each observation and record it in the column.

2. Then find the mean of the value of h that is recorded in the column.


The Result: 

The radius of curvature of the given convex surface is cm.


The Precautions: 

  1. The screw should move freely without friction.

  2. The screw which we are talking about should be moved in the same direction to avoid the back-lash error of the screw.

  3. Excess rotation that should be avoided.


The Sources of Error 

  1. The screw may have friction.

  2. The spherometer generally may have a back-lash error.

  3. The circular disc scale divisions may not be of equal size.

 

What is Spherometer

A spherometer is said to be an instrument for the precise measurement of the radius of curvature of a sphere or that of a curved surface. Originally these instruments were primarily used by opticians to measure the curvature of the surface of a lens.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. Explain What is the Principle of the Spherometer?

Ans: The term spherometer works on the principle of the micrometer screw. It is generally used to measure either very small thickness of flat materials which is like glass or the radius of curvature of a spherical surface.

Q2. Explain Where the Spherometer is Used?

Ans: A spherometer is said to be an instrument for the precise measurement of the radius of curvature of a sphere or that of a curved surface. Originally we can notice that these instruments were primarily used by opticians to measure the curvature of the surface of a lens.

Q3. What is the Least Count of a Screw Gauge?

Ans: The least count of screw gauge is 0.01mm which is the minimum value up to which a screw gauge can measure. The least count is said to be defined as the ratio of pitch of the screw to the number of divisions on the circular scale.