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Free-Falling object experiment

Free-Falling object experiment

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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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05/09/2014

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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)
o

Ball release mechanism
o

Steel sphere (1.27 cm or 1.91cm diameter)
o

o

Controller box
o

Phone jack connector

Photogate timer

Table clamp, rod, and horizontal clamp

Meter stick

Ball catcher
Introduction:
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
212
()
iyi
ytyvtg
=++
, (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 (
v
yi
= 0) and the distancethat it falls will be measured from the release point (
y
i
= 0). Thus, the equation becomes:
212
()
ytg
=
(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.
Activity:
Setup-
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.
Lightly
tighten the thumbscrew to lock the ball into position.
Figure 3:
Free Fall Release Device

Dowel PinThumbscrew

Data Collection -
1.

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
y
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
.8.

For each distance, a value for
g
can be obtained using
212
()
ytg
=
. Once all of thedata have been collected, an average value of
g
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
g
should be computed and entered in the last cell of the table. The last two cells in yourtable then have your average value of
g
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
212
()
ytg
=
using 9.8 m/s
2
for
g
.10.

Next make a plot of y
(t)
vs
2
on the graph paper provided.