School of Physics Lecture Demonstration Manual

Hc-9 Archimedes' Burning Ship

Published: Monday 13 March 2006 - Updated: Monday 28 March 2011


To Demonstrate the concentration of light energy by the use of multiple mirrors



Archimedes is supposed to have destroyed a naval attack by having his soldiers reflect the suns rays from polished sheilds onto the sails of an enemy fleet.In this reenactment mylar mounted on A4 cardboard is distributed amongst the audience. The mirrors reflect the light from a 1500W floodlight onto an electronic oscillator whose frequency is light dependent. This demonstration is normally attempted in conjunction with Hc-7 .

Safety notes

Electrical safety 

Fire/Burn Safety 


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