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Newton's Second Law - Lab #2

Period 5 Physics 10/3112010

In this lab we were trying to confirm the direct relationship between net force and acceleration, and then ultimately find the mass of the car and system, Initially we already know that Newton's second law states that: Net Force = Mass* Acceleration. This equation shows that there should be a direct relationship between net force and Acceleration, In this case the net force is the overall resultant force, The mass is the mass of the object, and the acceleration is the rate of velocity increase of the object. If this equation is hue, then hypothetically dividing the net force by the acceleration should give us the mass of the system, which would be the slope of the linear line of Acceleration vs. Force graph.

Some other important terms to know would be mass, inertia, and force. Mass is the amount of stuff/matter in an object, and it is also directly equivalent to inertia because with more mass the inertia will be greater because it takes more force to change the motion of a bigger object. The other term is force, which is essentially a push or pull. Force is measured in Newtons.

FNet = Mass" Acceleration FNetl Acceleration = Mass

During the lab the variables we needed needed to collect data for were force and acceleration. In this case force was the independent variable because we could control it by changing the amount of mass on the string, this would change the force. The other variable acceleration is dependent, because it depends on the force pulling the car.

Our force was calculated by totaling up the mass of the weight on the end of the string, converting it from grams to kilograms (mJ1ltit11y by 1000), and then multiplying that number by 9.8 N/kg (acceleration due to gravity) to' d ," ;:()t./

give us the force in Newtons. Car


During our tests, were also

careful to take the extra unused mass from the force and put it on top of the cal' so that the mass of the entire system remained constant throughout the

experiment. If we had not kept those

masses in the system, our overall

calculated mass for the entire system

would be skewed.

Car At,elerate~ Along Here




All this Stuff here Is the

mass of the entire System

Acceleration was calculated directly from logger pro. After using the motion detector, the data from the trial was shown on a velocity vs. time graph. Due to the fact that acceleration is the

A Velocity/ !l Time, we could then highlight a portion of the graph in which the car was in ,/

motion, and then the line of best fit for that portion would have a slope equal to the acceleration

of the car. The acceleration of the car was in mls/s, which is a meter per second velocity increase

per second of time.

Below is the data collected during the experiment. For each force, multiple trials were conducted and the resulting acceleration was averaged to give us a final average acceleration which is more accurate. The final graph was also an acceleration vs. force graph rather than a force vs. acceleration graph, because then we the mass would equal the slope (mass/I), rather than being the reciprocal of the slope (l/mass),

Data Table:

Acceleration Trials

Mass Force Trial #1 Trial #2 Trial #3 average Range (of System mass
(g) (N) acceleration acceleration) (force/acceleration)
109 .098N .2583 m/s/s .3205 .2600 .2591 .009)<:g \ .378 kg
20g .196N .5273 mfs/s .5448 .5233 .5318 .011kg .368 kg
25g .245N .7445 m/s/s .6937 .7002 .7134 .03 kg .343 kg
45g .441 N 1.252 mfs/s 1.041 1.219 1.171 .08 kg .376 kg
65g .637N 1.839 mls/s 1.809 1.798 1.815 .02~kg lie, .350 kg
80g .784N 2.215 mfs/s 2.258 2.250 2.241 .017 ~ (Al(_~ .349 kg
!" Actual System Weight: 250.5g (car) + 80g =.33Q5kg

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Slope of graph: .3474kg

Unear Fit ror: Data Set I Force y"mA+b

m{S!~):0.3474 NrlIg'm'm

b (y.lrHercept): 0.01046 N conetauon: 0.9989

o. RMSE: 001403 N


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X-axis error bars = .081,j::.g; This was the highest value range (see table above)


% Error = (.3305 - .3474) I .3305 * 100::::: -5.113% error (experimental vs. real mass)

Acceleration % error: .259 mls/s with .009 range = 3.47% enol' .fe."

1.171 mlsls with .0813 range = 6.92% error

There were quite a lot of sources of error in this lab. First of all, the equation F~~ applies directly in an environment in which friction = 0, but in our experiment friction was still there. Even though it seems that friction is miniscule, it is actually in many places in the apparatus. During the test sometimes the string would fall off the spool at the very end of the run, which may lead to more error there. This friction error would also lead to the y-intercept not

being O. In a perfect environment with no friction, the y-intercept would hypothetically be 0 because there would be no friction acting on the object, so it doesn't need any force to overcome it initially.

A human error that we encountered is that it is quite hard to just select the exact right portion of acceleration on the logger pro graph because each portion will give you a slightly different answer. Aka: slope for 2 -3 seconds might be ,3479, while from 2 - 3.5 might give you a slightly different answer at .3521, even though they are on the same graph.

Another small en-or in the experiment is when we used 9.8 mists for gravity when that is a rounded number, because gravity isn't exactly that. This was also a problem with many other numbers in our lab because they were rounded; and significant figures weren't always taken into account in calculations.

In conclusion by looking at the graph it is clear that there is a distinct linear relationship between the variables force and acceleration, There wasn't any parabola or square-root line of best fit. This was also confirmed because our test result showed the right mass of the system (+ 01' - 5.1 %);so this means that Newton's 21ld law must be correct.

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Mr. Medley

Physics sth period October 31, 2010

Lab #2: Confirming Newton's 2nd Law


Newton's second law states that Forces cause acceleration according to the equation Fnet = ma, the net force acting on the object is equal to the mass of the object multiplied by the acceleration. The net force means the sum of all forces (~ forces) acting on the object.

This means that if two equal forces are pushing on an object in opposite directions then the net force would be equal to zero.

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By applying Newton's I" law we can see that an object at rest with equal forces acting on it in opposite directions will stay at rest unless one force is stronger then the other. The same rule applies to an object in motion. If an object is moving at a constant velocity then it is not accelerating. If acceleration is zero then so is the second half of Newton's second law causing the net force to also equal zero. The mass portion of the equation is critical because there is a one to one ratio between mass and inertia. Inertia is the tendency to continue motion or lack of motion, it is measured in the same units as mass (kg). If there is a larger mass (inertia) then it will take more force to cause the objects velocity to change. Acceleration, the rate of change in velocity is directly related to the net force. Think about throwing a bowling ball, if there was no friction then the ball would just keep rolling (Newton's l" law), you have exerted a force for only s short period of time

in order to change the balls velocity. Now imagine running along side the ball putting constant pressure on it. You will probably have to start running faster because the ball is accelerating due to the force being applied. Acceleration means the velocity is constantly changing and a change in velocity is caused by a net force. Even though conceptually we

can explain the direct relationships between net force, mass and acceleration the actual

equation must be proven quantitatively using numbers determined experimentally. All the

variables can be measured so our unknown must be chosen. In our experiment we will "', <6

use net force and acceleration to determine the mass. We will drop a weight attache~jQ-, __ "CJ

our car in order to apply a constant force. Using the force due to gravity (9.8 Nra110 the

mass of our weight we can calculate the force applied to the car. The car is set on a track

with an extremely low amount of friction in order for the force caused by the weight to be the net force. After the force is applied the car will move forward and its acceleration recorded as the slope of the line on a velocity versus time graph. By algebraically rearranging Fnet = ma to solve for mass we get m = Fnet/a. Using a variety of different net forces will give different points on an acceleration versus net force graph which we can use to plot a line proving the direct relationship between mass, net force and acceleration.

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OUf method was very straight forward. In order to keep the mass of the system the same we laid one 100g weight, one 50.0g weight and five twenty gram weights on the car so when we increased our force we could transfer a weight from the car to the hook without adding outside mass. One person made sure the string was properly aligned on the pulley while another made sure the front of the car was lined up with the 90cm mark on the

track, the third person managed the computer and checked to see if everyone was ready before starting the data collector. A second after the data collector began clicking the person standing near the car takes away the weight keeping it in position and the car accelerates forward. Watching the car accelerate our team would observe any possible variables that would interfere with the ability to acquire reliable data.


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If something occurred, such as the string falling off the pulley or the weight blocking the car flam rolling not being completely removed from it's path, then the trial would be redone. As the car accelerated the acceleration is graphed on both a time versus position graph and a time versus velocity graph. The time versus position graph will give us the cars velocity (change in x over change in time) but we are only interested in the car's acceleration.

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lfwe highlight the portion ofthis graph where there is clearly an increase in velocity, the slope will equal the acceleration of the car. These were the values recorded in our data table.

Mass of Force Trial 1 T§V2 Trial 3 Tl'ia14 Average Range
Weight (N) Acceleration .xl> 'l Acceleration (Accel.)
(g) (m/s-)
5 .049 .0478 .0478 .05197 .04637 .04849 .0034
25 .24 .4346 .4317 .4451 .4419 .43833 .00677
55 .539 1.007 1.020 .9871 1.017 1.0078 .0909
65 .637 1.213 1.202 1.201 1.215 1.2078 .0072
75 .735 1.334 1.387 1.338 1.375 1.3585 .0285
105 1.029 1.965 1.975 1.970 1.945 1.9638 .0188 Results and Analysis

We graphed the average acceleration ofthe four trials (see attached graph). Using the average we found the difference between the average acceleration and the acceleration value furthest away in order to acquire the range. We used the biggest range to give us

our error bars. When looking at our graph you can tell the line does not pass through the

point (0,0). In theory with absolutely no other forces (friction) the car would begin acceleration with even the smallest amount offorce. Due to our y-intercept of 0.02038 N we need more then that much force to begin acceleration at all. Although we didn't use a level to see if the track was tipped,that factor along with the possibility of friction or just

a discrepancy in our method caused the line to intercept the y axis at (0,0.02038). By calculating the x-intercept we can say that if the Ffriction = 0 then with no Fapp the car would decelerate backwards at a rate of .03952 m/s", This deceleration was not observed so we can say with an amount of uncertainty that the car also had the force offriction acting upon it. Using this information if we assume friction was the cause we can say Fapplied -Ffriction =F net. Our force applied, lets use .049 N minus -0.02038 N (friction) = Fnet .02862 N. In this case the F net is almost half that of our F app. By factoring in the Ffriction it would lower all our points by the same number therefore not changing the

slope of our line. As long as the Ffriction remained constant then the accuracy of our data has not changed and our final answer is the same.

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Our final equation yJ.' 0.51S7x + 0.02038 demonstrates the linear relationship between

Force and Acceleration in the equation m = F/acc. Mass (m) corresponds to the dependent variable (y) and force corresponds to our independent variable (x) in the standard linear equation y = mx + b (b is our y-intercept of .02038). ill = F/acc. can be algebraically altered to F=ma (Newton's second Law) the equation which we are confirming. The slope of our graph, when changed to g from kg is equal to 517.7 g as the mass of our system. When the mass of our system is measured on the electronic balance a

~otal mass of 512.1g ~s shown. The differe~ce of S.lg represents the leve~ of~ncertainty , ).( III our data. Our maximum range at .0909 IS the greatest level of uncertainty 111 the data iJ v\. ( .collected of accelerations. We used .0909 as the length of our error bars. Using the error

bars, two different lines have been drawn on the graph. One line represents the largest

possible y intercept which in turn is linked to the smallest possible mass and the other ~

line shows the opposite with the slope representing the largest possible mass. The first

line has a slope of .4517 and the second line has a slope of .5667. The difference between the twopossible slopes is .115 therefore our final answer with uncertainty is 0.5157kg + or c:::nS>1he greatest difference in the y-intercept is .06692 giving the y-intercept the

. ../1 uncertainty of .02038 + Of- .06692. Despite this error the linear relationship is very clearly demonstrated in our graph. Newton's second Law F=ma, has been confirmed.



Error Analysis

Many of the sources of error in this experiment have been addressed as they are brought up in this lab. A small discrepancy lies in the actual masses of the weights used for force. While both the 50 and 100 gram weights were spot on, four of the 20 g weights weighed

in as 20.1 and the fifth was 20.4. We never used more then three 20 gram weights at a

time so it's possible that the 20.4 g was never even used. Even with the difference of .2g ,/

this would only result in a change of .00196 N afforce that would be added. This would

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actually cause the y value to be a little higher and in turn increase the slope so that the line might come a little closer to the point (0,0) which in theory the line would pass through with no conflicting forces. General sources of error include: a possible tilt of the track, highlighting the part of the graph where the car was not accelerating, the

unavoidable friction between the wheels of the car and the track, the discrepancies between the labeled masses of the weights and their actual masses, all of these errors can travel from the raw data to our final answer causing a large amount of uncertainty. Even with uncertainty we are looking for a relationship not precise numbers, so our data still

gives us the confirmation of Newton's second law which was the purpose of this lab.


Data Set

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1 0.04849 0.049 1.0

2 3 4 5 6 7





12 13

14 15 16 17 18 l'

0.43830 0.240
1.00780 0.53')
1.20780 0.637
1.35850 0,735
1.96380 1.02<1 ? -
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Unear fit for: Data Set I force (N) Y= rrcc--b m (Slope): 0.51S7 b (Y -lntercept): 0.02038 Correlation: 0.9998

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cf. 0.5

1.0 Acceleration Ave. (m/s/s)

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Period six

Newton's Second law

Confirming Newton's second law, Fnet"'maJ is the object of this lab. It is a very important law to

comprehend because it determines how nearly everything accelerates based on its mass and the overall

force on it. The first step to confirming this law is to break down the equation and understand what it means. The very beginning of that would be to know what Fnet is. It is the sum of all the forces on an object. It will be measured in Newtons, abbreviated N. To calculate Newtons, the amount of weight (in

kilograms) creating the force must be multiplied by the gravitational force {N= {m)(g)).The idea of force

in this lab and what it will affect will be explored more with a diagram later on. The next part of the

equation is mass. This is simply the amount of matter in an object, and it will be measured in kilograms as well. Lastly is acceleration which will be measured in meters per second per second, or m/s2.

Another notable point about this equation is that force and acceleration are direct proportions.

When Fnet changes, the acceleration is going to change, as stated above, in a proportionate way. For

example, if Fnet triples in size, acceleration will triple in size. Of course, mass is not going to change

because it is independent of force and acceleration. If the mass is changed, the force required for the

object to accelerate at the same rate will change proportionately, or the acceleration will change

accordingly if the force did not

To understand how this law works, we will put different sized weights on a string that is

attached to a car, and monitor the acceleration that occurs from every different force that is applied to

the car (the force will be measured by multiplying the mass of the weight by the force of gravity). Each

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weight represents a different amount of force that will be applied to the car. When the force vs. ~O() v--- oU ~e.r (0 _,v" I

acceleration is graphed, It should have a linear line with an equation similar to y=x. y:

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In performing this lab, a car was placed on a track, and on the car were different sized weights.

There was a string attached to the car which ran down over the edge of the track, across a pulley, and

the weights from the car would be placed on the end of the string. The acceleration of the car due to the

force of those weights was measured using the computer. The diagram will help to explain the system

that was used. The dependant variable here was acceleration, because it will change with the amount of

weight on the string, making the weights the independent variable.

The graph is quite straight forward. The force and acceleration found were plotted on the graph,

with force on the y axis and acceleration on thex axis. A line of best fit was put through these points,

which is very hard to see because the points created a nearly linear line in the first place. The last step

was adding error bars to acceleration, which were made to show + or - .07 m/s2 acceleration


There were two ideas to be confirmed in this lab. The first was to prove that there is a linear

relationship between force and acceleration. On the graph's line of best fit, it shows the correlation

between force and acceleration as .9998, so it is clear that it is very close to a direct proportion. There is

a point on the graph that is very important to explain. It is the y intercept, which in a y=x equation,

should be at the origin. In the line found in this experiment, it came out as having an intercept of .02207

N. This means that there was no acceleration of the car until a force of more than .02207 Newtons was

applied to it. This can be attributed to friction. One of the goals of this lab was to eliminate it, but

obviously some remained (specifically .02207 N of friction). Another important point relating to this is

that fnet was used, not fappHed, which means that the equation we were using was actually fapplied-

The second idea to be confirmed was that the mass of the system could be found using the data.

Because of the equation fnet=ma, fnet can be divided by acceleration, making /net = m . There is going to a

be some uncertainty within each point, so an easy and accurate way to average the points will be used.

The line of best fit on the graph shows the best slope that fits all of the points as close as possible, so

that line can be used to find the mass of the car. We know that/net = m and we also know that the

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slope of a line is~, therefore the slope of the line should equal the mass of the system. The system was x

weighed and came out as .335 kg, and the slope was .3407. There is obviously a small amount of error

here. The percent error was found to be -1.70% bY( 8~ ) • 100.

actua mass

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acceleration (rn's'"'2}; (1.0004: ,'ror.c<:: 0.022"20 .

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! Linear Fit for. Di1:tJ Sct I force O'l------;'f=rNtb

1 'm (Sk.p::)~ ll3-l07N/m's""1 ! i b(Y-Inter~pl}; 0.112201 N

i Correlation: 0.'9993

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