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Free-Falling object experiment

Free-Falling object experiment



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Published by ugur
Motion of a Freely Falling Body
experiment Motion of a Freely Falling Body
Motion of a Freely Falling Body
experiment Motion of a Freely Falling Body

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Published by: ugur on Nov 22, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Physics 250 Laboratory:Motion of a Freely Falling Body
(1-D Kinematics)
 Lab-Specific Goals:
To determine the acceleration due to gravity by studying the motion of a freelyfalling body.
 Equipment List:
Free-fall apparatus (See figure 1)
Ball release mechanism
Steel sphere (1.27 cm or 1.91cm diameter)
Receptor pad
Controller box
Phone jack connector
Photogate timer
Table clamp, rod, and horizontal clamp
Meter stick 
Ball catcher
In this experiment you will make measure-ments of distance and time for a freely fallingbody in order to verify theoretical predictionsand to verify the value of g, the accelerationdue to gravity. You will analyze the data todetermine a functional relationship of distancevs. time and of velocity vs. time, and check this with what you would expect from thetheoretical equations. This method is usedextensively in scientific work.
Figure 1:
Free Fall apparatusThe equation of distance as a function of time for a freely falling object is described,according to theory, by the equation
, (1)
where we are picking a coordinate system in which
down is the positive direction
. In thesituation that you will use the object will be dropped from rest (
= 0) and the distancethat it falls will be measured from the release point (
= 0). Thus, the equation becomes:
(2)(We picked a coordinate system with down for the positive direction to make thisequation positive instead of negative.) As seen from the functional dependence, if distance vs. time is plotted, the graph is a parabola. If a graph of distance vs. timesquared is made then the graph will make another type of function.
1. Clamp the ball release mechanism to a lab stand as shown in the diagram below.Plug the phone jack into the port on the photogate time. The timer should be set tothe “gate” mode.
Figure 2:
Photogate Control Pad2. Position the ball receptor plate directly under the ball and inside the ball catcher.3. Insert one of the steel balls into the release mechanism, pressing on the dowel pin sothat the ball is clamped between the contact screw and the hole in the release plate.
tighten the thumbscrew to lock the ball into position.
Figure 3:
Free Fall Release Device
Dowel PinThumbscrew
Data Collection -
Turn the timer on and set it to “Gate” mode.2.
Tap the receptor pad to reset the Free Fall Timer device.3.
Press the RESET button on the photogate timer to reset the timer4.
Measure the distance
from the bottom of the ball to the top of the receptor pad andrecord this value in Table 1.5.
Loosen the thumbscrew to release the ball. It should hit the receptor pad. If not, resetthe timer, reposition the pad, and try again.6.
Read the time on the digital display of the timer and record this time in theappropriate row and column of Table 1.7.
Press the reset button on the photogate timer, reposition the Free Fall Device to a newposition and repeat steps 3-6. You should do this for no fewer than eight differentpositions,
being sure to get as wide of a variety of positions as the equipment willallow
For each distance, a value for
can be obtained using
. Once all of thedata have been collected, an average value of 
can be found and each individualvalue compared with this average. The deviation from the mean value should berecorded for each data number and the standard deviation from the mean value of 
 should be computed and entered in the last cell of the table. The last two cells in yourtable then have your average value of 
determined by your experimental data as wellas a measure of the spread in the values obtained.9.
On the graph paper provided, plot the data points collected in your experiment. Onthe same graph make a smooth plot of the equation
using 9.8 m/s
Next make a plot of y
on the graph paper provided.

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