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Nilay Mehta

Lab 2: Projectile Motion

Purpose: The purpose of this experiment is to determine where a ball will land based on its
Vernier computer interface
Logger Pro
2 Vernier Photogates
ball (1 to 5 cm diameter)
masking tape

plumb bob
ramp and books
2 ring stands
2 right-angle clamps
meter stick or metric measuring tape

The ball rolls off of the table with an initial velocity labeled Vo. Since the ball has no vertical
variance, the velocity of the y-axis, Voy= 0 m/s, and Vox=Vo. We learned that when the ball
leaves the table, it does not gain any acceleration for the x-axis. This means that the velocity for
Vox stays content for the whole flight. As a result, it can be reasonably inferred that since there is
no acceleration and the horizontal distance will reflect the velocity dependent to the time, the
range, R, cane be solved with the equation R= Vox * t. To get a value for t, we can use the free fall
formula for determining displacement which is d= g t2. Rearranging the formula to solve for t
will result in t= . Therefore, we can calculate the point of impact by the formula: R= Vox .
Based on the values that we recorded for the average velocity, I hypothesize that the impact point
will be about 0.25 meters.

Nilay Mehta
1. Set up a low ramp made of angle molding on a table so that a ball can roll down the ramp,
across a short section of table, and off the table edge, as shown in Figure 1.
2. Position the Photogates so the ball rolls through each of the Photogates while rolling on the
horizontal table surface (but not on the ramp). The Photogates should be 8 to10 cm apart. To
prevent accidental movement of the Photogates, use tape to secure the ring stands in place.
Connect the Photogates to the digital (DIG) ports of the interface. Note: Connect the sensors
so that the ball first passes through the Photogate connected to the digital (DIG 1) port and
then passes through the Photogate connected to the digital (DIG 2) port.
3. Mark a starting position on the ramp so that you can repeatedly roll the ball from the same
place. Roll the ball down the ramp, through each Photogate, and off the table. Catch the ball
as soon as it leaves the table. Note: Do not let the ball hit the floor during these trials or
during the following velocity measurements so as not to spoil the prediction. The ball must
not strike the sides of the Photogates. Reposition the Photogates if necessary.
4. Open the file 08A Projectile Motion (Photogate) in the Physics with Vernier folder. A data
table and two graphs are displayed; one graph will show the time it takes for the ball to pass
through the Photogates for each trial, and the other will display the velocity of the object for
each trial.
5. You must adjust the distance, s, between Photogates in order for Logger Pro to calculate
the velocity correctly for successfully predicting the impact point. The program will divide
this distance by the time interval, t, it measures to get the velocity (v = s/t). Carefully
measure the distance from the beam of Photogate 1 to the beam of Photogate 2. You can use
the seam on each Photogate body as your guide, as the seam is centered at the detector.
Adjust the gate separation value using the control in Logger Pro.
6. Click
. Verify that the Photogates are responding properly by moving your finger
through Photogate 1 and then Photogate 2. Logger Pro will plot a time interval (t) value for
each instance you run your finger through Photogate 1 or Photogate 2. Click
, then
again to clear the trial data and prepare for data collection.
7. Roll the ball from the mark on the ramp, through both Photogates, and catch the ball
immediately after it leaves the table. Repeat nine times. Take care not to bump any of the
Photogates, or your velocity data will not be precise. Data collection will stop after 60 s. If
you need more time, click
to restart, choosing Append. After the last trial, click
. Record the velocity for each trial number in Table 1.
8. Inspect your velocity data. Did you get the same value every time? To determine the average,
maximum, and minimum values, click the velocity vs. time graph once to choose it, and then
click Statistics, . Record these values in Table 2.
9. Carefully measure the distance from the table top to the floor and record it as the table
height h in Table 2. Use a plumb bob to locate the point on the floor just beneath the point
where the ball will leave the table, as shown in Figure 1. Mark this point with tape; it will
serve as your value for floor origin.
10. Use your velocity value to calculate the distance from the floor origin to the impact point
where the ball will hit the floor. Record the value in Table 2 as the predicted impact point.

Nilay Mehta
Align your predicted impact point with the track and mark the predicted impact point on the
floor with tape. Position a target at the predicted impact point.
11. To account for the variations you saw in the Photogate velocity measurements, repeat the
calculation in Step 10 for the minimum and maximum velocity. These two additional points
show the limits of impact range that you might expect, considering the variation in your
velocity measurement. Mark these points on the floor as well, and record the values in
Table 2.
12. After your instructor gives you permission, release the ball from the marked starting point,
and let the ball roll off the table and onto the floor. Mark the point of impact with tape.
Measure the distance from the floor origin to the actual impact and enter the distance in the
data table.
Table 1


Table 2
Maximum velocity
Minimum velocity
Average velocity
Table height
Predicted impact point
Minimum impact point distance
Maximum impact point
Actual impact point distance
Not recorded m

e 0.07
o 0.065
i 0.06
y 0.055
/ 0.05



Nilay Mehta
1. It would be more appropriate to use an impact range rather than a landing point because, as
the data shows, the velocity will vary from trail to trial. Therefore, it would be incorrect to
assume that the ball will land on the point using the average velocity.
2. We did not record the actual landing point in our experiment.
3. A possible reason for our range could be the value for trial 10. This value was significantly
lower than all the other values, and should have been labeled extraneous.
4. Our prediction did not account for air resistance, but I would assume that if air resistance
would be included, the impact distance would slightly drop.
The purpose of this experiment was to record a balls velocity and predict the impact
point once it hit the ground. I hypothesized that with our data, the ball would travel 0.25 meters
out, which does fit in my range. The minimum data point we got for the velocity was 0.050 m/s
and the maximum was 0.072 m/s. These results averaged out to a velocity of 0.066 m/s. Once I
plugged it into a formula, R= Vox , it yielded an impact range of 0.198 m to 0.284 m.
The materials and procedures were appropriate for recording the velocity of the ball. The results
averaged to give us an initial velocity of 0.066 m/s. I think that this lab was valuable because it
reinforced the concepts that we learned about calculating various values for a horizontal
projectile. The methods that we used in this lab are sufficient to achieve its purpose.