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A Study of Determining Acceleration Due to Gravity

Daniel S. Perez and Raphael C. Pascual


Mapua Institute of Technology, Mathematics Department
Probability and Statistics (Math30-5)

Abstract
Gravitational acceleration is the change in velocity on an object at a given time interval caused
by the force of gravitation. The study is conducted to determine if the carts acceleration over an
assumed frictionless inclined track is equal to the component of gravitational acceleration
parallel to the inclined track and lastly, to determine if the body is dropped freely, its
acceleration is equal to the gravitational pull near the earths surface. The experiment used a
cart and an inclined track for the determination of acceleration due to gravity using the carts
acceleration. On the second part of the experiment a picket fence and a smart timer is used to
determine the acceleration due to gravity of a falling body.

I. Introduction

Gravitational acceleration is the
change in velocity on an object at
a given time interval caused by
the force of gravitation. The
study is related with kinematics.
According to Mapua Institute of
Technology physics laboratory
manual, Kinematics is a branch
of mechanics that consists of the
study of motion without
considering the forces that cause
or develop the motion. The
motion of the object in
kinematics is represented by a
particle. In one dimensional
motion, the particle can be
considered moving along the x-
axis with a position that can be
discribed at all times.

The study is conducted to
determine if the carts
acceleration over an assumed
frictionless inclined track is equal
to the component of gravitational
acceleration parallel to the
inclined track and lastly, to
determine if the body is dropped
freely, its acceleration is equal to
the gravitational pull near the
earths surface. It is said that the
motion of an object along a
levelled track is assumed
frictionless, its speed is uniform.
But if the assumed frictionless
track is inclined at an angle, its
motion is uniformly accelerated.
The acceleration of the object is
said to be equal to the component
of gravitational acceleration
parallel to the inclined track. If a
body is dropped freely, without
air resistance, its acceleration is
said to be equal to the
gravitational pull near the earths
surface.

II. Methodology

The experiment used a cart and
an inclined track for the
determination of acceleration due
to gravity using the carts
acceleration. On the second part
of the experiment a picket fence
and a smart timer is used to
determine the acceleration due to
gravity of a falling body. Here
are the materials used and its
procedures:

Materials:
1pc Dynamics Cart
1pc Dynamics track w/ Angle
Indicator and End Stop
2pc Photogate
2pc Photogate Mounting Bracket
1pc Smart Timer
1pc Smart timer Picket Fence
1pc Stand
1pc Meter stick

Procedures

PartA: Determining Acceleration
Due to Gravity Using Carts
Acceleration.

1. Set-up the track with the 0cm
end elevated using a stand as
shown in the figure, with the
end stop at the lower end and
record it as final position. See
figure 1 for set-up.
2. Adjust the height of the track
to 15cm as initial height.
3. Position photogate 1 at 80 cm
and set the mode of the timer
to measure ACCEL, ONE
GATE.
4. Press button 3 of the timer to
reset.
5. Compute for the tracks
inclination using the total
length of track and its height.
6. Place the cart with the picket
fence on it at the 18cm point
of the track and record its
initial position.
7. Release the cart from rest,
take the reading on the timer
and record it as acceleration.
8. Repeat steps 4 to 7 and
perform 5 trials, each trial
increasing the height of the
track by 5cm.
9. Compute the carts total
displacement.
PartB: Determining Acceleration
Due to Gravity Using Picket Fence
and Smart Timer.
1. Set the photogate horizontally.
See figure 2 for set-up.
2. With one photogate connected to
the timer, set the mode of the
timer to ACCEL, ONE GATE.
3. Press button 3 of the timer to
restart.
4. Drop the picket fence vertically
within the photogate. See to it
that the picket fence will pass
through the photobeam
perpendicularly.
5. Take the reading on the timer and
record it as acceleration.
6. Repeat Steps 3 to 5 and perform
5 trials.


III. Results and Discussion


For the first part of this
experiment the carts
acceleration is used to determine
the acceleration due to gravity.
Results are determined upon
performing the procedures set for
part A. Results are shown in
Table 1.

Table1: Determination of
Acceleration Due to Gravity
Using Carts Acceleration.

Trial Height
of
Track
Acceleration Inclination
()
Gravitational
Acceleration
1 15 115.8 0.125 926.40
2 20 153.1 0.167 916.77
3 25 228.3 0.208 1097.60
4 30 233.6 0.250 934.40
5 35 261.1 0.292 894.18

Height is measured in cm.
Acceleration and Gravitational
acceleration in

.

The results shows that as the
height of the track increases the
carts acceleration also increases.
But the gravitational force
increases on a certain point and
then it decreases. This happens
may be because of some forces
that acts on the cart and the track
that we did not include in the
experiment such as friction, since
we only assume that the track is
frictionless.

Hypothesis:



at



Area of rejection is .
Since the value of t is equal to -0.715 and it
does not fall under the rejection region, we
are to accept the null hypothesis

and reject the alternative.






On the second part of thise experiment
which is to determine the acceleration due to
gravity of a body dropped freely, we follow
the procedures set on PartB. The reults are
recorded and are shown in Table 2.

Table2: Determination of Acceleration Due
to Gravity Using Picket Fence and Smart
Timer.
Trial Acceleration
1 982.6
2 975.2
3 981.3
4 971.3
5 971.8

Accelerations are in

. Ressults shown
are very close to our claim that the
acceleration of a body dropped freely is
equal to the gravitational pull near the
earths surface,

.
Hypothesis:



at


Two tailed test.



is our rejection
area. But the value of t computed is -1.51
and it is greater than -2.776.
Since the value of t does not fall in our
rejection region which is
, we are to accept the null hypothesis

and reject the


alternative.

IV. Conclusion

With the help of the materials, it is
observed in table 1 that as the height
increase the acceleration of the cart or any
object also increase. However according to
the date we can conclude that the
gravitational acceleration has a different
relationship with the height and the
inclination of the track since its results is
different from the acceleration of the cart.
As for the hypothesis the null hypothesis is
accepted because is greater than the the
value of the area of rejection. The second
part also provided a conclusion which
claims that a body subject to a free fall
motion has an acceleration equal in
magnitude to the gravitational pull near the
earths surface. It accepts the null hypothesis
and rejects the alternative because its did
not fall under the area of rejected region.







Appendix

Figure 1: Set-up for Determination of
Acceleration Due to Gravity Using Carts
Acceleration.

Courtesy of: honorsphysicsrock.wikispace.com

Figure 2: Set-up for Determination of
Acceleration Due to Gravity Using Picket
Fence and Smart Timer.

Courtesy of: www.vernier.com


Reference:
[1] Mapua Institute of Technology Physics
Laboratory Manual