To find out how much information is stored on a compact disc without using a computer.
You will need to become familiar with what a burned CD looks like – look at one under a light and you will see where the “burned tracks” start (at the center of the disc) and where they stop. This is the information that you will be measuring.
- Computer capable of burning CD’s
- 8 unused CD-R discs
- Any file that is roughly 100 MB in size
- Marker for labeling the used discs
- Journal or logbook
Estimated Experiment Time
A few hours
- 1. Set up two identical copies of your 100 MB file. One will be used as your “control,” so it is a good idea to save it somewhere out of sight for now. The second copy of the file will be used for burning. Name each copy of the file.
- 2. Create a table within your journal or logbook to record the data. For each disc that is burned, you should record the unused data on the disc, the used data on the disc and the distance from the center that the “burned tracks” stop.
- 3. Burn the file on the first disc. Record the unused data and the used data for each disc into your journal or logbook and measure with your ruler the distance from the center of the disc to the end of the “burned tracks.” Record in your journal.
- 4. For the second disc, add another copy of the same file. Burn that disc and record the information. For the third disc, add yet another copy of the same file – on disc three, there should be three copies of the same file. Each time you burn a disc, you will add another copy of the file.
- 5. Label each disc with a number or appropriate name so you will be able to tell the difference between the different discs.
- 6. When you are finished, graph the results.
You may need an adult to help you burn information on the CD’s as well as show you where to find the used disc space and the unused disc space.
The hypothesis is that the unused space will diminish as more files are burned onto each disc.
At the end of the project, you should be able to estimate the amount of space used on each disc solely by the measurement from the center of the CD to the end of the “burned tracks.”
Take a moment to visit our table of Periodic Elements page where you can get an in-depth view of all the elements,
complete with the industry first side-by-side element comparisons!