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Chapter 2

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Forces And Motion

15

Gravity
Galileo performed the free fall experiment at the Leaning Tower of Pisa to show that two balls of different masses will fall to the ground at the same rate.
To vacuum pump

(a)
vacuum

Glass cylinder

Air

(b)

Feather

Dice

In (a), the feather and dice fall at the same rate in a vacuum. In (b), the feather falls slower due to air resistance.

To Determine The Acceleration Due To Gravity
The motion of an object under free fall can be analysed by taking its stroboscopic photograph as shown in the figure. By using the equation of motion a = v – u , the acceleration due to t gravity g can be determined. g = 9.8 m s–2 ≈ 10 m s–2

Gravitational Field Strength And Weight
Any object, especially a huge one such as the Earth or the Sun has a gravitational field surrounding it. An object placed in the gravitational field will experience a gravitational attraction. The weight of an object is equal to the gravitational force attracting the object. The gravitational field strength is defined as force per unit mass acting on the object.
Earth

F

Object

m

Weight, W = mg Gravitational field strength, W g= m

Question An object of mass 5 kg is released from a tall building of height 500 m. If the acceleration due to gravity is 10 m s–2, what is the (a) weight of the object, (b) gravitational field strength, and (c) time taken to reach the ground? Solution (a) W = mg = 5 × 10 = 50 N (b) g = W = 10 N kg–1 m

(c)

s = ut + 1 at 2 2 1 500 = 0 + (10)t 2 2 Time taken t = 10 s
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