IB Physics IA Ideas (25+ Topics) - Inclusive Of Topics Your Teachers Won't Discuss!

25+ New IB Physics IA Ideas. These Physics IA Ideas Will Help You Get A High Grade In Your Physics IA.

Adya Sharma
13 OCT 2021
ib physics ia ideas

Cracking the IB Physics IA can seem like a challenging task from afar, but like any other assessment, only the beginning is the hardest.


Frantically looking for IA IB physics ideas can be taxing and quite a struggle.


By the time your mind races from Aerodynamics to Relativity, you have most likely crossed the scope of the syllabus and have gotten yourself in quite a pickle!


There are several fascinating topics to explore, but not all of them are lucid enough for you to undertake at this point. It thereby becomes imperative to rule out big ideas smartly and instead opt for specific, more relevant ones. 


In this article, you will find:

  1. IB Physics IA Ideas - Thermal physics

  2. IB Physics IA Ideas - Mechanics

  3. IB Physics IA Ideas - Waves

  4. IB Physics IA Ideas - Electricity and Magnetism 

The primary focus of your IB Physics IA should be on applying your scientific thinking to explore concepts you have learnt before and document them accordingly. Going for a completely new topic is not only a tad bit daunting, but can also leave you all the more confused. And who wants confusion when it comes to IB Physics IA or any other Internal Assessments for that matter?


Your IB Physics IA topic is the stepping stone towards nailing your Physics IB score, and this is the reason why learning at the entire process is more crucial than ever. You don’t have to take up a novel idea to outshine everyone. Approach it conventionally to perform to your best capacity. There is no need to panic, but you sure don’t have to put the IB Physics IA selection procedure on the backburner!


To kickstart your search for the best suited IB Physics IA idea, this is precisely the place you should be!  


This gets us to tackle the question of the role your IB Physics IA topic plays in getting you your dream score. First and foremost, the marking scheme entails the Personal Engagement criterion, which marks you on your choice of your IA research question. Your Physics IA idea (i.e. your research question) only makes up to 0.8% of your complete Physics IA.




Opting a tried and tested Physics IA topic ensures you are dealing with a simple idea that leaves no room for confusion.


Not only does a standard and conventional IB Physics IA idea increase your chances of scoring higher, but it also cuts down on the substantial research you would be required to do for an original topic.


Besides, a standard IB Physics IA idea also determines your overall performance since an IA idea that covers the concepts you’re already familiar with determines your understanding of the question you wish to answer through your IB Physics IA. This helps you take more interest, research better, and ultimately score better.


Choosing a topic wisely, therefore, is of much importance. It is always advisable to filter down your interests to ideas that are relevant to your course and voila!


There you have a great IB Physics IA topic, to begin with! 


Still can’t figure out what IB Physics IA idea to opt?


No problem! Nail IB has got you covered!


Before you browse further, you might want to check out our blog on  IB Physics IA : 3 Important Tips for a Good Grade, to understand in-depth the difference between Experiment and Simulation-based topics. This will assist you in selecting effectively!


Here’s an assortment of 25+ IB Physics IA ideas to get the IA ball rolling:

IB Physics IA ideas - Thermal physics: 

  1. Calculating the specific heat capacity of a liquid material of your choice! (Experiment Based) 

    • Description -

      • Record the temperature of the liquid material with a thermometer, by providing heat to the liquid in an electric heater. 

      • Plot the temperature in intervals by providing varying heat and the slope of the graph must give you the value of 1/mc.

  2. Investigating the Ideal Gas Law using a simulation of a gas: (Simulation-Based)

    • Description -

      • Simulate a gas in a fixed container with the particles confined in the space.

      • To investigate whether the Gas Law holds for these gas particles, create a simulation that varies two variables out of P, V, and T, and see the effect on the third one.

      • Finally obtain graphs of P v/s T, V v/s T and P v/s V. Verify. 

  3. Change in the rate of evaporation of water with a change in surface area: (Experiment Based)

    • Description -

      • Plot the varying vaporisation times involved with containers of different cross-sectional areas to observe a relationship.

  4. Investigating to what extent does salt concentration affect the specific heat of the water. (Experiment Based)

IB Physics IA ideas - Mechanics: 

Projectile Motion:

  1. Finding how the rotational velocity affects the horizontal travel distance of a basketball in free fall. (Simulation-Based) 
    • Description -
      • Take into consideration the three separate forces acting on the ball during the travel, namely - Gravitational force, Air Drag and Magnus Effect- and how they depend on parameters like velocity, rotational velocity and the radius of the ball to simulate a project for numerical approximations and establish relations from data.
  2. Finding the coefficient of static friction between the two materials. (Experiment Based)
    • Description - 
      • Plot an F(maximum frictional force) versus R(reaction force) graph by recording the maximum force needed to be applied for F and the weight of the material on top for R and obtain μ from the gradient. 
  3. Dependence of Air Resistance on the surface area of spherical balls.
  4. Effect of Temperature on Spring Constant. (Experiment Based) 
    • Description - 
      • Record the force applied on a spring with the help of a force sensor and measure the extension with a ruler accurately. 
      • Plot F v/s x graphs for different temperatures and compare their gradients (Spring Constants) to infer a conclusion. 
  5. Investigating Archimedes’ principle and determining the value of g.
    • Description - 
      • Use water or any liquid which has a known density, and a force sensor to measure the buoyant force.
      • Plot an F-V curve by submerging different objects and the slope thus obtained should be ρg
  6. How does the concentration of D-Sucrose affect the viscosity of a solution?
    • Description - 
      • Find an appropriate method to find Viscosity after preparing and accurately determining the concentration of D-Sucrose in a solution. 
  7. Effect of temperature and other physical parameters on the viscosity of fluids. 
  8. Determining the specific energy of different materials.
    • Description -
      • Plot energy against mass to obtain specific energy as the gradient. The different values of energy and mass can be obtained by taking different materials and burning them to heat water. The temperature of water thus recorded can be used to determine the energy supply by the material’s burning. 

IB Physics IA ideas - Waves: 

  1. How does the frequency of a simple pendulum vary with string length and string diameter?
    • Description -
      • Plot Frequency versus String Length graph for different pendulums of varying length by recording their frequency with a timer. 
      • Plot Frequency versus String Diameter graph similarly for different pendulums of varying diameters by recording their frequency with a timer. 
  2. How does the air drag coefficient affect the period of a pendulum undergoing damped simple harmonic oscillations? 
  3. Investigating how the refractive index of a liquid varies with temperature.
    • Description - 
      • Plot the Refractive Index v/s Temperature graph for different temperatures of a liquid by using Snell’s Law to calculate the Refractive Index. 
  4. To what extent does the angle of Incidence of p-polarized light affect the reflectivity and transmissibility?  
  5. How does the Intensity of a Light source vary with Distance? 
    • Description - 
      • Plot Intensity of a Light source v/s r ^ -2 to find the gradient P/4π, where P is the Power of the Light Source. The graph thus obtained establishes how Intensity varies with Distance.

IB Physics IA ideas - Electricity and Magnetism: 

  1. Verifying Ohm’s Law for different electrical components.
    • Description - 
      • Plot V-I Graphs for different resistors, thermistors etc. by varying the voltage via a voltmeter in a circuit and correspondingly noting the change in the current with the help of an ammeter, also connected in the circuit. 
      • A linear curve verifies Ohm’s Law.
  2. To what extent does temperature affect the total available energy in secondary cells?
  3. Investigating the relative permeability of air by varying the current of a solenoid and measuring the resultant magnetic field. 
  4. Determining how the current magnetically induced in a solenoid depends on the a number of coils.
  5. Calculating the time constant of a Capacitor.
    • Description -
      • Plot either the voltage change with time or current change with time for a discharging capacitor, through a resistor.
      • Make sure either relationship follows an exponential curve to positively calculate the time constant of the Capacitor.
  6. Calculating the work function of metals.
    • Description - 
      • Plot an E (Kinetic Energy of electrons) v/s f (frequency of light source) graph. The y-intercept thus found is the negative value of the metal’s work function. 
  7. Investigating the relation between temperature and the efficiency of a transformer.

Below are some more wonderful Physics IA ideas to get your thinking caps on! 

  •  How does the speed of sound in a material vary with temperature? 

  •  How does the angle of the initial release of a pendulum affect the subsequent calculation of ‘g’ from the pendulum?

  •  What is the relationship between the spacing of consecutive dominoes and the effective speed of the domino effect?

  • How does the emf produced by rotating coils depend on the rotational speed of the coils?

  • How does the frequency of oscillation of an object on a spring depend on the mass of the object?

  • How does the temperature of a lubricant affect the coefficient of dynamic friction?

  • Use computer simulation calculating the charge on an electron.

  • Investigate the range of projection of a shuttlecock in terms of its cross-sectional area. 

Want to score a seven in your IB Physics IA? 

The first step towards that goal is the selection of a precise topic where you don’t go about inventing a concept.

You are required to use your classroom knowledge to its best and use the resources available to your advantage!

An excellent mathematical model will work wonders in your experiment based topic and will help you develop a focused question that you will cater to in your IA.

Your crucial takeaway must be to go for something standard and tested instead of an out of the box idea. 

Don't forget to checkout out our IB Physics HL Notes that are specifically created to help students score well in there diploma programme.

For a clearer perspective on the entire IA assembling process, check out more blogs on Nail IB and hustle towards success! 

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