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Department of Physics
St. Mary's College of Maryland
18952 E. Fisher Rd.
St. Mary's City, MD 20686
Phone: (240) 895-4367
Office: Schaefer 242
Lab: Schaefer 163

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St. Mary's College of Maryland

3D Printing for Physics Education

printed models of spherical harmonics
Y_2^1 representation in Mathematica

Professor Josh Grossman and Abigail Taylor (SMCM class of 2013) have explored the use of 3D printing in physics education. We concentrated on one example -- printing manipulatives of representations of the spherical harmonics. The spherical harmonics are the angular solutions to Laplace's equation. They occur throughout physics, perhaps most familiarly in determining the angular wavefunction of electron orbitals in atoms. Descriptions of the shapes were programmed in Mathematica. The shapes were then exported as STL files for printing. We used two types of printing: fused deposition modeling (extrusion) and selective laser sintering (binding of granular material).

For extrusion printing: zipped archive of Mathematica file and STL files (11MB total)

For laser sintering: zipped archive of Mathematica file and STL files (33MB total)

Presentation from Spring 2014 meeting of the Chesapeake Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers

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