National Physical Laboratory

Virtual Physical Laboratory (VPLab)

The Virtual Physical Laboratory (VPLab) software contains over 250 interactive experiments for use by teachers and by pupils individually. It demonstrates physical principles and applications and is pitched at Physics GCSE, AS/A2 level, though the simulations may be of value at other academic levels.

The value of VPLab lies in the fact that:

  • Experiments and demos are facilitated swiftly without the time and cost of equipment set up
  • Pupils can experiment without fear of breaking something
  • Pupils can investigate according to their abilities

"Probably the most practical treasure of all: VPL - a wonderful suite of on-screen simulations."
Michael Grehan, Belvedere College Dublin

"I was astounded at how useful it was. Awarded 5-stars = Excellent."
Bernard Taylor, Physics Education Magazine

To obtain a copy of VPLab:

VPLab - Digital Image Transition
VPLab simulation showing how an
image is transmitted in digital format

If you are outside of the UK you can purchase the software from the VPLab website

To UK and Republic of Ireland schools and colleges, this remarkable educational resource is provided free of charge to teachers who attend a demonstration, thanks to sponsorship by NPL and the Institute of Physics (IOP).

Please contact the IOP organiser Gary Williams to find out where the next demonstrations are taking place. NPL and IOP are happy to attend teachers' events to provide demonstrations.

VPLab may be installed on the computer server in the school of the recipient for multi-user access, however it is not 'freeware' and must not be passed on to third parties.

VPLab was created by John Nunn, an NPL scientist who uses thermography to assess sub-surface damage of coatings such as thermal barrier coatings.


Please note that the information will not be divulged to third parties, or used without your permission