Featured in PASCO’s Advanced Physics Teacher Guide

Advanced Physics Teacher Guide


This manual features over 30 College Board curriculum and AP Physics exam inspired lab activities.

RC Circuits

Lab Summary

Use a voltage sensor to determine the unknown capacitance of a capacitor in a simple RC circuit.


A simple RC circuit contains a capacitor with unknown capacitance. Determine this unknown value using the equipment provided and any relevant mathematic equations, diagrams, graphs, and tables, given that R = 220 kΩ and ε = 3 V.


Students gain experience conducting the following procedures: Connecting the circuit as shown in Figure 1 using the components provided. Continuously measuring voltage data across the resistor in the circuit as the capacitor charges through the batteries. Converting the voltage data, V(t) to ln(V(t)) then plot ln(V(t)) versus t.
♦ Using a line of best fit to determine the slope (m = –1/RC) and the unknown capacitance in the circuit.

Sensors / Equipment Used:

PASPORT Voltage-Current Sensor


Allows students to safely measure voltage and current simultaneously without overloading the sensor. For use with PASPORT Interfaces.

AC/DC Electronics Laboratory


Designed to perform electricity experiments for AC and DC. Can be used as a standalone with a multimeter or with sensors and PASCO software.

Materials Used:

Batteries, D-cell - 2

The Associated Bundle:

Advanced Physics Standard Sensor Bundle


This bundle contains the probeware needed to perform all 37 lab activities in the Advanced Physics lab manual.

Interface Required

This experiment may require software and an interface for data collection.