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Attribution Non-Commercial (BY-NC)

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of

Sto

ppe

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Lab

]

[Amy

Gong]

Novembe

r 18, 2009

I. Purpose: The purpose of this lab is to demonstrate centripetal motion,

particularly when an object is spinning at a horizontal level, with no gravitational

forces acting on it. The equation to find centripetal force, Fc = m * ac, is used to

find the mass of the object being spun, as all other aspects of the equation are

either measured or worked out through the experiment.

II. Lab Set-Up: A length of black string is strung through a thin glass tube and a

stopper of unknown mass is attached to one end of the string. On the opposite

end, a 5g hanger is attached to the thread, and 40g of weights is attached to

the hanger. A piece of tape is taped to the string between the end of the glass

tube and the hanger, which will help to keep the radius of the stopper’s path at

a constant, 0.195m. After each run, 20g will be added to the hanging weight each

time. The same person will spin for each trial, and the same person will time for

each trial.

Radius = 0.195m

Stopper; mass

unknown

Glass tube

Additional weights

Tape

III. Safety Concerns: Flying objects – The person spinning the stopper could spin

it too fast or lose control of it and the stopper could hit them in the face.

Therefore, the person spinning the stopper wore protective goggles to protect

their eyes.

IV. Procedure:

First, we needed to set up the apparatus as shown above, with 45g of

hanging weight initially.

Then, the spinner will slowly start spinning the stopper until the tape is at

the bottom of the glass tube, but not yet touching it. At this point, the

stopper is traveling in a horizontal path, and the person who is timing will

start the timer and stop it after ten revolutions. The trial will be repeated

two more times, and the average time will be calculated.

Then, 20g of weights will be added to the hanging weight.

Repeat steps 2-3 until there are five sets of data collected (5 different

hanging weights).

V. Data:

Mass # of Time Time/r Spee Speed 2 Forc A c Mass of

(Kg) revolutio (sec ev d 2 2 2

(m /s ) e (N) (m/s stopper

ns

) (m/s) ) (Kg)

.045 10 5.94 .594 2.06 4.25 .441 21.79 .0201

.065 10 5.09 .509 2.41 5.79 .637 29.68 .0214

.085 10 4.58 .458 2.67 7.15 .833 36.66 .0227

.105 10 4.23 .423 2.90 8.38 1.02 42.98 .0239

9

.125 10 3.89 .389 3.15 9.91 1.22 50.82 .0240

5

Radius = .195 m Circumference= 1.2246 m

VI. Calculations:

Time per revolution = time / # rev

5.94 sec / 10 rev = .594 sec/rev

Speed =[ (#rev) (circumference)] / time

[(10 rev) (1.2246 m)] / 5.94 sec = 2.06 m/s

Force = (masshanging) (accelerationgravity)

(.045 Kg) (9.8 m/s) = .441 N

Ac = speed2 / radius

(4.25 m2/s2) / 0.195 m = 21.79 m/s2

Massstopper = Force / Ac

.441 N / 21.79 m/s2 = .0201 Kg

VII. Graphs:

Force (N)

Force (N)

Speed (m/s) Speed2 (m/s2)

VIII.Conclusion & Questions:

What was the average mass of the stopper?

○ The average mass of the stopper was 22.42 g. The actual mass

of the stopper was 21.1 g. The percent error was 6.26%.

Why can we set the centripetal force on the stopper equal to the

gravitational force of the hanging mass?

○ Both the centripetal force on the stopper and the gravitational

force of the hanging mass are net forces. Both of these forces

acting on each other help to keep the string in a state of

equilibrium, as the position of the tape does not move throughout

the ten revolutions that are timed. Therefore, the centripetal

force and force of gravity must be equal to each other.

From your graphs, does your lab support the equation, Fc = m (V2 / r)?

Justify your answer.

○ Yes, the lab data supports the equation, Fc = m (V2 / r), because in

both graphs, the force increases proportionally with the speed or

speed2.

Sources of error: A source of error would occur in data collection,

because when timing each run, the timer approximates 10 revolutions.

The timer has to make a visual mark to mark the passage of one

revolution; the placement may not be exact each time. Also, there is a

reaction time that is needed between when the timer perceives that 10

revolutions have passed and when he stopped the stopwatch. Therefore

the timing may be off by a small percent, and we may not have spun the

stopper for exactly 10 revolutions.

To remedy this problem, it would have been better to have drawn a

specific symbol that the stopper must pass on each revolution, and use

this as a marker. When it comes to timing, the timer should anticipate

when the stopper is approaching the tenth revolution so that he may

stop the stopwatch at a more precise time.

By setting the gravitational force of the hanging mass equal to the

centripetal force of the stopper, we were able to demonstrate that the

centripetal force equation is true. Because the force and speed

increased at a proportional rate, the force and centripetal acceleration

increased at the same rate, and therefore, the calculated mass of the

stopper remained within a relatively close range over each run.

Therefore, we learned about to the centripetal force is calculated and

how we can tie it in with other forces.

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