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Practical 4 The effect of force on the acceleration of an object

Purpose Safety

The aim of this experiment is to Make sure the trolley and light gates are positioned
investigate the effect of force and mass away from the edge of the bench so that the trolley
on the acceleration of an object, in this will stop on the bench.
case a trolley. Place a piece of sponge beneath the hanging masses to
bring them to a safe stop.

You will need:

• Trolley • Pulley • Two retort stands and some leads
• White plastic track • Twelve washers • Thread
• Board, two light gates (mass 10 g each) • A piece of sponge
• QED unit and power supply

Experimental instructions
Variation of acceleration with
accelerating force (accelerated mass
Mask size 1 cm constant).
trolley light gates
Set up your apparatus as shown
in figure 1 with a piece of sponge
placed beneath the hanging masses
and set your QED unit to measure
Compensate for friction by tilting
Accelerating washers
the track slightly so that the trolley
runs steadily down with no increase
in speed when there is no force
Figure 1: The experimental arrangement pulling it.

Start with ten of your twelve washers on the trolley and the other two on the thread
hanging down. The mass to be accelerated is the mass of the trolley and twelve washers
while the accelerating force is the weight of the two suspended washers (0.2 N).

Allow the trolley to accelerate down the track and record its acceleration – repeat this
reading and take an average.

Repeat the procedure by taking one washer off the trolley and adding it to the suspended
washers – the accelerating force is now 0.3 N (same total mass). Carry on until you have
only two washers left on the trolley. Record the values of accelerating force, mass and
acceleration in a table.

Analysis and conclusion

Plot a graph of acceleration against accelerating force.
Comment on the shape of the graph and deduce the relationship between acceleration
and force.

M01_ASPhys_TB_6399.indd 6 27/5/08 17:39:09