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Lab03:AccelerationonaRamp

Physics100

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Introduction:
Agliderslidingwithoutfrictiondownaninclinedplanehasaloweraccelerationthananobjectfalling
withfreelythroughtheair.

Assumingconstantaccelerationwewillusethekinematicdefinitionsofaveragevelocityandaverage
accelerationtomeasuretheaccelerationofagliderslidingdownaninclineatseveralanglesandthen
useourmeasurementstopredicttheaccelerationofthesamegliderfallingfreelythroughair.

Background:
Reviewthesectioninyourtextbookthatcoversthekinematicequationsofmotion.Wewillusethe
subscriptftosignifyfinalvelocityintheequationsbelowandthesubscript0tosignifyinitial
velocity.Notethefollowingoperationaldefinitions.

Averagevelocity:

v=

x x f x o

=
t
t

(1)

Averageacceleration:

a=

v v f v o

=
t
t

v=

x 1
= ( v f + v 0 )
t 2

(3)

x 1
1
= (v f + 0) = v f
t 2
2

(4)

(2)

WhentheaccelerationofanobjectcanbeconsideredconstanttheaveragevelocityinEquation(1)can
bewrittenas:

Additionally,iftheobjecthasinitialvelocity,vo=0,thentheaveragevelocityisonehalfofthefinal
velocity:

v=

Andthechangeinvelocitybecomes:

v = (v f v 0 ) = v f

(5)

Lab03:AccelerationonaRamp
Physics100
IfwesolveEquation(2)forthechangeintimewefindthat:

t =

2x

vf

(6)

BysubstitutingEquation6intoEquation2andnotingthattheinitialvelocityisequaltozerowecan
solvefortheaverageacceleration:

a=

vf2

2 x

(7)

Equation7issimilartothethirdequationofmotionthatwedevelopedforconstantaccelerationby
eliminatingtimefromthepositionandvelocityequations:

(8)
v f 2 = v 02 + 2a(x f x 0 )

Notethatthereisnotimemeasurementinthisequation.Eventhoughwearemeasuringthe
acceleration,changeofvelocityovertime,wecandosowithoutexpresslymeasuringthetimeinterval.

Note:Thisisnotstrictlytruesinceweneedtomeasurethetimeittakesfortheleadingedgeofthe
glidertopassthroughthephotogateinordertocalculatethefinalvelocity.

Ifyouarecomfortablewiththematerialcoveredinthebackground,thenmoveontotheexperiment.If
youarestrugglingwiththemath,thenpleaseaskyourinstructorforclarificationbeforeyougoon.

Procedure:
1. Setuptheairtrackwithoneendliftedandclampedtoaringstand.Theslopeoftheramp
shouldbeatanangleequaltoapproximately10.Setthetwophotogatesinpositionatthe
lowerendofthetracktomeasurethefinalvelocityoftheglider.Placeacushionatthebottom
ofthetracktoprotecttheglider.Adryeraseboarderaserisagoodchoicetouseasacushion.

2. Carefullymeasurethedistance,d,betweenthecentersofthephotogatesandrecordthevalue.

3. Determinetheangleoftheairtrackabovehorizontalfromthechangeinheightoftheairtrack
overaknowndistanceandrecorditinTable1.Recordsin()intheTable1.

4. Placetheleadingedgeofthegliderexactlyx=1.00mfromthecenterofthephotogates.

5. Turnontheairtrack.Releasethegliderfromrestandallowglidertoslidedowntheairtrack
andthroughthephotogates.Pleaseuseenoughcushioningattheendoftheairtracktoprotect
thegliderfromdamage.Recordthetimemeasuredfortheglidertopassthroughthe
photogates.

6. Repeatthemeasurementseveraltimestobesureyourresultsareconsistent.Calculatethe
averagetimefromyourthreemostconsistentmeasurements.Enterthisnumberinthe
Table(1)astheaveragetime.
2

Lab03:AccelerationonaRamp
Physics100

7. Calculatethevelocityofthegliderasitpassesthroughthephotogates.Todothis,dividethe
distancebetweenthephotogatesbythetimemeasuredforthefrontedgeoftheglidertopass
betweenthecentersofthephotogates.

Forexample,ifthedistancebetweenthegatesmeasured0.015mandthetimebetweenthe
photogatesmeasured0.005s,thenthefinalvelocitywouldbecalculatedasshownin
Equation1.

d 0.015
(9)
v= =
= 3 m/s
t 0.005

8. CalculatetheaccelerationusingEquation7andenteritinTable1

Iftheratio,

(10)
sin

isnotbetween9and11m/s2,thensomethingiswrongandyouneedtotalktotheinstructor
beforeproceeding.

9. Repeatthismeasurementprocessforatleastfourmoreanglesbetween10and25.Tryto
spreadtheanglesoutoverthewholerangeofangles.RecordyourdatainTable1.Donotgo
above25.

10. PlotaccelerationversussinonthegraphbelowinFigure1.Accelerationwillbeplottedonthe
yaxisandsin()willbeplottedonthexaxis.Taketimetoplotyourdatapointsaccurately.Do
notconnectthedatapointswithlines.Instead,usearuleranddrawastraightlinethat"best
fitsallthedatapointsandgoesthroughtheorigin.Askyourinstructorifyouareunsurehowto
dothis.

11. Determinetheslopeofyour"bestfit"lineusingEquation11.

Slope =

af ao
Rise

=
Run sin f sin o

(11)

12. RepeatSteps911forasecondgliderofadifferentmassandrecordyourdatainTable2and
Figure2.

Lab03:AccelerationonaRamp
Physics100
DataCollection:

Distancebetweenthephotogates.d=_________(meters)

Distancetheglidertravelsonthetrack.x=_________(meters)

Massoftheglider.m=_________(grams)

Table1:DatacollectedinAccelerationonaRamplab.

Final
Velocity

Average
Acceleration

d
v f = (m/s)
t

v2
(m/s2)
a=
2 x

Ratio

Trial#

RampAngle
sin
(degrees)

Average
Time
(s)

a
sin

Lab03:AccelerationonaRamp
Physics100

DataAnalysis:

Massoftheglider.m=_________(grams)

Figure1:AnalysisofdatacollectedinAccelerationonaRamplab.

Lab03:AccelerationonaRamp
Physics100

DataCollection:

Distancebetweenthephotogates.d=_________(meters)

Distancetheglidertravelsonthetrack.x=_________(meters)

Massoftheglider.m=_________(grams)

Table2:DatacollectedinAccelerationonaRamplab.

Final
Velocity

Average
Acceleration

d
v f = (m/s)
t

v2
(m/s2)
a=
2 x

Ratio

Trial#

RampAngle
sin
(degrees)

Average
Time
(s)

a
sin

Lab03:AccelerationonaRamp
Physics100

DataAnalysis:

Massoftheglider.m=_________(grams)

Figure2:AnalysisofdatacollectedinAccelerationonaRamplab.

Lab03:AccelerationonaRamp
Physics100
Question1:Isthevelocitymeasuredatthephotogateanaverageorinstantaneousvelocity?Explain
yourreasoning.

Question2:IstheaccelerationcalculatedusingEquation2anaverageorinstantaneousacceleration?
Explainyourreasoning.

Question3:Whatwouldbetheangleoftherampiftherampwasvertical?

vertical=___________

Question4:Calculatethesineoftheangleforaverticalramp:

sinvertical=___________

Question5:Usetheslopeofyour"bestfit"linetopredicttheaccelerationyouwouldmeasureifthe
rampwasvertical.(Ifyouareunsurehowtodothis,pleaseaskyourinstructor.)

avertical=____________

Discussion:

Lookupinyourtextthevaluefortheaccelerationofanobjectfallingfreelynearthesurfaceofthe
Earth.ComparethatvaluetothevalueyoupredictedinQuestion5for"freefall"accelerationbasedon
yourownmeasurements.Dotheyagree?Howfaroffarethey?

Howdoyourresultsvaryforglidersofdifferentmasses?

Explainyourfindingsanddiscussyourresults.

(Note:Thediscussionisthepartofthelabwriteupwhereyouconvincemethatyouunderstandyour
resultsandthephysicstheyrepresent.Taketimetodoathoroughjobofcommunicatingyour
understanding.Neatnesscounts,too!)