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Page 260

Physics Words

acceleration: the change

in velocity per unit time.

gravity: the force of

attraction between two

bodies due to their

masses.

Inverse square relation:

the relationship of a force

to the inverse square of

the distance from the

mass (for gravitational

forces) or the charge (for

electrostatic forces).

source spreads out over larger areas. The light is literally

spread thin. The light intensity at any one spot increases as

the area gets smaller and decreases as it gets larger. This

observation is an example of a pattern called the inverse

square relation. In an inverse square relation, if you double the

1

1

distance the light becomes 22 or 4 as bright. If you

1

1

triple the distance, the light becomes 32 or 9 as bright.

If you increase the distance by 5 times, the light becomes

1

1

2 , or

25 as bright. If you increase the distance by 10 times,

5

1

1

the light becomes 102 , or 100 times as bright.

a) How closely does your data reflect an inverse square

relation?

Acceleration Due to

the Earths Gravitational Field at Different Heights

Height above

Sea Level (km)

Acceleration due

to Gravity (m/s2)

0

3.1

11

160

400 (Shuttle orbit)

1600

8000

16,000

36,000 (geosynchronous orbit for

communications satellite)

385,000 (orbit of the Moon)

9.81

9.76

9.74

9.30

8.65

6.24

1.92

0.79

0.23

0.003

(6400 km below sea level). Plot these distances vs.

acceleration in a graph. Draw the best possible curve through

the points on the graph. Label this graph Graph 2.

a) Does the data form a pattern?

b) Is the pattern familiar to you? Give evidence for your

conclusion.

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