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Vectors and the Force Table


Through this experiment, students will learn:
- Vector analysis
- Resultant vs equilibrant vectors
- Experimental errors
- Statistical Analysis

A scalar is a physical quantity that possesses magnitude only.
Examples of scalar quantities are mass, time density, and
temperature. A vector is a quantity that possesses both magnitude and
direction; examples of vector quantities are velocity, acceleration and
force. A vector can be represented by an arrow pointing in the
direction of the vector, the length of the line should be proportional to
the magnitude of the vector.
Vectors can be added either graphically or analytically. The sum or
RESULTANT of two or more vectors is a single vector which produces
the same effect. For example, if two or more forces act at a certain
point, their resultant is that force which, if applied at that point, has
the same effect as the two separate forces acting together. The
EQUILIBRANT is defined as the force equal and opposite to the
Those two concepts of resultant and equilibrant vectors are the
keys to this experiment. Please spend some time practicing your
vector addition (resultant) using the graphical applet at:

In this applet, the green line has no direction. Hence, the direction
of this line from the origin to the blue vector is the resultant vector
while the equilibrant is the vector pointing from the blue vector back to

Remember that both resultant and equilibrant vectors have the same magnitude but opposite direction. The force table is an apparatus that allows the experimental determination of the resultant of force vectors. The strings extend over pulleys clamped to the table and are attached to hangers.the origin.each hanger has a mass of 50 g). To balance the forces. The forces used on the force table are actually weights. In this experiment. two methods for vector addition will be used: the graphical method (head to tail method) and the experimental method (using the force table). The rim of the circular table is calibrated in degrees. With a third pulley and masses. Vector addition 1: To find the resultant of two forces: a 200 g force at 45 degrees and a 200 g force at 135 degrees. Place one pulley at 45 degrees and the other at 135 degrees. or W  mg In this exercise. The magnitude of the forces are adjusted by adding or removing masses to the hangers. The forces are balanced when the ring is centered around the central metal peg. Forces are applied to a ring around a metal peg at the center of the table by means of strings. On each string at runs over these pulleys. c. a. we will not multiply the mass by the acceleration due to gravity. balance the forces exerted by the two 200 g masses. move the third pulley around to find the direction of the . MATERIALS Tablet PC Computer Laptop Force Table. pulleys. b. The direction of the forces may be adjusted by moving the position of the pulleys. hangers. masses Excel Word Microsoft Paint Ruler Protractor PROCEDURE 1. we will simply consider the "force" as the mass that is hung on the string. that is. place a mass of 200g (including hanger .

what is the resultant vector? a. Vector Addition 3: What is the resultant of a force of 100 g directed at 0 degree and another force of 200 g at 90 degrees. The graphical column refers to the resultant vectors graphically obtained. VECTORS EXPERIMENTAL GRAPHICAL 200 g at 45o 200 g at 135o 150 g at 20o 200 g at 80o 100 g at 0o 200 g at 90o 2. The experiment column refers to the equilibrant vectors obtained on the force table. RESULTS 1. do NOT use results from your force table to obtain the graphical vectors. The idea is to use two different methods and compare them. To determine the direction of the resultant. Make sure to label and include direction/magnitude labels and values on your graphs. Follow the same procedure as in #1. and then add masses to the third hanger until the ring is centered. the reader ought to be able to see clearly: the two . d. balancing force. subtract 180 degrees from the direction of the equilibrant. Include your results here. Vector Addition 2: If one force of 150 g is directed at 20 degrees and another force of 200 g is directed at 80 degrees. 3. a. Use the force table to determine the resultant force experimentally. 2. Use the force table to find the resultant. and independently from the force table! That is. When reading your graphical method. Include your graphs for each case. The resultant has the same magnitude as the equilibrant. The balancing force obtained in (c) is the equilibrant force. for all your drawn vectors.

include the scale that you chose.. The relationship between the resultant and the equilibrant is given at the beginning of this experiment. 2. you need to compute the percent error for both (2 computations). Finally. On average. Use this information to compute the equilibrant vectors from the resultant vectors obtained in each of your graph in results 2 (case: 1. hence. Compute the percent error between the equilibrant vectors obtained through the experiment (force table) and the graphical method (Assume that the graphical method gives you the true/accepted value). 3. and based on your percent error values.vectors given. and 3) 4. For the first part only ( 200 g at 45o / 200 g at 135o). the resultant vector. Remember that a vector is defined through two properties: magnitude and angle. which method is the most accurate? Which method is the most precise? (my little finger tells me there is a trick question in there…) .