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E4: Impulse and Collisions

Spring 07


Partner’s Name:

Laboratory Instructor:

Laboratory Section:

Recitation Instructor:

Recitation Section:

OBJECTIVES: Use a force transducer to measure F(t) vs. t during the collision of an air
track glider with the force transducer and relate this to the Impulse.


Apparatus: Be sure to include a diagram.

1. Check the calibration of the force transducer using the DataStudio procedure. Do
not hang more than 500 grams on the transducer.
a. The Low Value should be “0" Newtons and reset the voltage reading by
clicking on “READ”. Now hang 250 grams (including the 50 gram weight
hanger on the hook. Set the High Value to the force 250 grams exerts and
press “READ” to set the voltage for the high value. Set the sampling rate to
200/second. Then double click on the force transducer icon in the upper left
column of your screen. Set the precision to 4 (digits) in the lower right hand
corner of the box which appears.
2. Use a photogate to determine vINITIAL and vFINAL the velocity of the glider before and
after the collision.
3. Measure F(t) vs t, the force the transducer exerts on the glider during the collision.
a. Adjust the position of the force transducer so it is located at one end of the
air track at a level so the glider rubber band bumper will strike it, and so it is
centered on the track. Tilt the rubber band bumper so the bracket holding it
does not hit the force transducer. Change the data rate if necessary to have
enough points measured during the collision.
b. Include a graph of F(t) vs t in this report

c. Calculate

i. J = ∫F
(t)d t
1. What is tBEGIN, the time at which the collision of the glider
with the force transducer began? tBEGIN = __________
2. What is tEND , the time when the collision ended? tEND =
a. On your printed graph, indicate tBEGIN and tEND.
b. How long was the glider in contact with the force
transducer? ________s
3. While in DataStudio, highlight the collision region on the F(t)
graph and use the integrate feature to determine J.
4. What are the units of J? ___________________________
ii. Calculate ∆p = pFINAL - pINITIAL for the glider.
1. ∆p = ______________
2. What are the units of ∆p? __________________________
iii. Did the glider lose kinetic energy during the collision with the force
transducer? Explain your answer.
d. Starting with F = ma, show that ∆p = J. Does this relation hold for your
measurements? Calculate the percentage difference between |J | and |∆p|.

∆p − J
% d iffe r e n c e = ∆p *100
4. If time permits, repeat using the large circular steel spring.