You are on page 1of 4

NEWTONS SECOND LAW OF MOTION

(EXPERIMENT)
Experiment:
The smart pulley has low friction and low
inertia, and its rotation is monitored by an
attached photo-gate. One arm of the photogate emits a thin beam of infrared light
which is detected by the other arm. The
computer discerns whether the beam
strikes the detector or is blocked by a spoke
in the pulley sheaf. The small LED light in
front of one arm illuminates when the beam
is blocked. By accurately timing the signals
that arrive from the photo-gate, the
computer is able to track the motion of any

Not shown in the picture below:

Computer and Pasco interface
Large glider
Scale and weight set
Photo-gate and picket fence
Rag box for collecting picket fence

Light
Gate/Beam

Pulley

THEORY
Consider a glider of massMon a nearly frictionless air track. This glider is attached
to a
small massm by a string passing over a smart pulley. The Earth exerts a downward
force on the small mass which is equal in magnitude to its weightmg.
Reasoning somewhat intuitively, we can
say that this gravitational force causes
the entire system of massM+mto
accelerate. Newton's Second Law can
then be written as:
mg=(M+m)a

INVESTIGATION
Effect of the force acting on a
fixed mass:

Investigating Factors that affect the

Acceleration of an object :

The gravitational force pulling

down on the weights and
hanger is acting on the total
mass of the system, which is
the mass of the trolley plus
the weights and hanger.

The acceleration of the trolley is

found by measuring the time taken
for the card to cut the light beams
and the separation of the gates. If L
is the length of the card, t1 and t2
are the times to break the light
beams and s is the separation of the
gates:

Effect of mass on the acceleration

produced by a fixed force:
The weight on the hanger is kept constant.
Weights are added to or taken from the
trolley to increase or decrease the mass of
the system.
The acceleration is found for each mass,
as before , and a graph of acceleration
against the inverse mass is plotted.

Initial Velocity, u = L/t1

Final Velocity, V = L/t2
The acceleration can be calculated
using the equation can be
calculated using the equation of
motion:
V2 = u2 + 2as
The resultant force is provided by
the weight on the hanger.

CONCLUSION
If we wish to test Newton's Second Law, we might think of using different
small massesmand checking whether the accelerationais proportional to
the gravitational forcemg., however, shows thatais not simply proportional
tom, since the denominator also depends onm. Thus, holdingMconstant
while increasingmcauses thetotalmass of the system to increase. On the
other hand, if we add, say, three more small masses (each of massm) to the
glider and transfer them one at a time to the hanger (also of massm), then
thetotalmassM+4mof the system remains constant. Hence, we can test
whether the acceleration of the system is proportional to the gravitational
force as it increases in magnitude frommg to2mg,3mg, and4mg.