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Newton’s 2nd Law: Acceleration of an Air Cart


The objective of this experiment was to investigate the changes in the motion of a

cart that occur when different amounts of force are applied.


Smart Pulley, computer, frictionless track, cart, weights, triple beam balance



Acceleration is the rate of change of velocity, which can also be expressed as the

second derivative of position or the first derivative of velocity, or the slope of velocity.

Force can be described as something that affects a mass, causing either acceleration or

mechanical stress, and can be expressed in Newtons.


See attached.


The graph is attached. There is a direct relationship between the variables, as the

experimental acceleration rises, the applied force also rises, which proves the direct

relationship between force and acceleration, as shown in Newton’s second law. The

experimental acceleration is very close to the theoretical acceleration, the theoretical is

slightly larger because it does not account for some of the practical factors, such as the

resistance of the air and the pulley itself, that the experimental accounts for. The

experimental is more accurate because the theoretical acceleration is a result of further

calculation, which decreases accuracy. The experimental acceleration is also the result of

real-world conditions, which makes it more accurate that the theoretical acceleration, as it

is able to take into account such things as the minute effect of air resistance.


The purpose of the experiment, which was to investigate the changes in the

motion of a cart that occur when different amounts of force are applied, was achieved

because of the low present error reported. A source of error may be the sensory

equipment itself, as it relies on light and is not exact. Another source of error is the

friction that would still be caused by the air. Through this experiment we learned that

acceleration is directly related to the force, and were therefore able to prove Newton’s

second law in an experimental setting.