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FORCES AND MOTION February 12, 2010 Lauren Margraf February 8, 2010.

11:00 AM - 12:50 PM Mike Wolf

Abstract This lab was used to introduce Newtons second law. The idea was to use a censored vehicle, a motion detector, a track, weights, and a Science Workshop computer program to take measurements of five trials. The program then took these measurements and created graphs of position, velocity, acceleration, and force all versus time. We did this in order to understand the effect these four quantities have on each other. We tested using a car on a test track by testing force by hand, an initial spring force, constant spring force, opposite direction spring force, or constant zero acceleration. What was discovered is the relationship between the quantities: velocity is the rate of change of position, acceleration is the rate of change of velocity, and force equals mass times acceleration.

Introduction and Theory The lab performed was completely focused on the effects of position, velocity, acceleration and force, and all of the trials described Newtons laws, most importantly Newtons second law: Force = Mass x Acceleration. Since the mass was the same for every trial, we saw how the force and acceleration are directly proportional. The first trial focused on how force applied was depicted on a graph. It was basically a test run to get used to reading the graphs and trimming the graph to the important part. Second, we examined how a vehicle can be moved from its original position at rest by applying a force. This is an example of Newtons first law: an object at rest will remain at rest and an object at motion will remain in motion until acted upon by an outside force. In this case, the car sat for a few seconds and then we pulled it along the track by a spring, constantly increasing the acceleration with the increasing force.

Third, the vehicle was pulled with a constant acceleration which gave the force graph a sort of plateau look this showed that when acceleration equals zero then the rate of change of the force also must be zero. Fourth, we inspected Newtons first law by creating an opposite force to a moving object, where an object was moving at a constant velocity and then opposed by the springs force in the other direction. This created zero acceleration at the velocitys maximum and a flip in velocitys and positions direction after the negative force was applied. Finally, Newtons first law was shown. When the acceleration was gravity, the mass of the vehicle created a force that began its motion downhill. In this case the force of gravity outweighed the force of friction. All of these also showed Newtons third law: every action has an equal and opposite reaction: 1) The vehicle had to be held in place when the force was applied so the reaction did not take place and change the position of the cart. 2) When a force was initially applied the cart resisted so that force had to be overcome. 3) This one was the same as the second in that it initially resisted then was overcome. 4) In this trial the opposite reaction was the resistance when the cart was already moving in the opposite direction. The constant velocity had to be overcome by the opposite reaction of the spring. 5) Gravity was the force acting in this case, so the equal reaction was the movement down the ramp.

Description/Procedure To begin the experiment we were required to test the apparatus. The equipment we used consisted of a track, wooden blocks to tilt it (trial 5), a spring, weights and weight holder, PASCO 750 Interface and Science Workshop program, Motion Sensor II, force sensor attached to a cart, and a computer. The program sensed the motion of the cart was tracked as it traveled closer to and away from the motion sensor. When the cart rolled away from the sensor, the position was increasing. When it came closer the position was decreasing. As the cart sped up the velocity graph was increasing, and when it was slowing down it was decreasing. If the velocity increased linearly the acceleration could be constant, but when the acceleration increased, the velocity became a parabolic increase because it was increasing exponentially. The force was only considered in the graphs when there was a contact force. When the cart was being pushed the force graph was negative. When it was being pulled the force was positive. In the first trial, one of our members held the cart in position and pulled gently on the hook, let it sit again and then pushed on it. This altered the force on the graph making it spike first in the positive, then into the negative. However, no other graphs were changed.

During the second trial, the cart sat at rest for a moment then was pulled by one of our members using a spring causing an increase in velocity and a spike in acceleration. Friction brought it to a stop so it could just sit there for another moment. Third, we stretched the spring and released the cart while trying to maintain that same tension on the spring. This created a constant force and a plateau on the graph of force versus time. Fourth, the cart was pushed from the middle of the track backwards toward the motion sensor, and then pulled by the spring in the opposite (positive) direction. This was a test of position. As it moved toward the sensor the position was negative, and as it moved away the position was positive. The velocity was negative until the position turned around (at which the rate of change, or velocity, equals zero) Last, a wooden block was placed underneath one end of the track to create a slope. The cart was released at the top, and was measured as it rolled down the hill with only a light force on the cart to keep it at zero acceleration thus the velocity was increasing linearly.

Results and Discussion Trial 2 questions: When we pulled on the spring in this trial, it created a positive reading for the force on the track. The force on the track was also positive. The force and acceleration graphs look very similar in this trial. They are both parabolas over 2 seconds. Compared to position, when the force reaches about 45 N the position increases very quickly (exponentially) Compared to velocity, at 40 N the velocity increases linearly. When the force is at zero again the velocity reaches a maximum and begins to decrease. Compared to acceleration they both increase, peak, and then decrease at the same time. Both curves are concave down. When the force drops suddenly to zero the acceleration is the only quantity that also goes back to zero. Velocity decreases but very slowly. From this it is obvious that the acceleration is directly proportional to the force.

Trial 4 questions: For the position graph the shape is a parabola. The curve goes below the initial position when the car is pushed backward and then turns around to increase. The velocity graph is concave up until the position turns around and then becomes concave down with one minimum (t=1.2s) and one maximum (t=3.1s).

The acceleration graph is concave up with a minimum at t=1 s then it turns around when the velocity is minimum to become concave down. The acceleration is constant until the velocity reaches a maximum and acceleration decreases. The force graph follows the shape of acceleration. It is concave up and down with zeros and minimums and maximums at the same points.

Trial 5 questions: The position graph is linear beginning at 2 m. The velocity graph is very shallowly increasing but close to constant (only by .2 m/s). The acceleration graph is constant at 0 m/s^2. The force graph is very close to constant around 1 N.

From the results we can easily see the relationship between position, velocity, acceleration, and force. Acceleration is the rate of change of velocity, and velocity is the rate of change of position. It is also easy to see that the force is directly proportional to acceleration (Newtons second law). The graphs look so similar because the mass is constant so force is not affected by a changing factor. Thus there is almost no difference between the magnitudes of these values.

Conclusion The idea of this lab was to measure the position, velocity, acceleration, and force of a real moving object. It showed the relationship between all of these by allowing each group to create graphs using a motion sensor and a computer program that measured all of these. It generated all of our graphs then we had to trim them so they would fit in the portion necessary for the data, and Newtons laws of Inertia were introduced as well as proven. Finally, this experiment allowed each group to gain an understanding of real world objects moving in real world situations.