• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Experiment to find the acceleration due to gravity using free fall.

Extracts from this document...


Experiment to find the acceleration due to gravity using free fall

As the title suggests, this experiment is to find the acceleration any object under free fall will undergo when travelling towards the earth. We presume in this experiment that we are unaware of the constant g and the basis of this experiment is to rediscover this value.


The principle behind the circuit is fairly simple. The ball is held through magnetism to the electromagnet; however when the magnetic field is no longer being created i.e. the switch is opened, the ball falls.

When the switch is opened, the timer also starts as the switch is connected to one of its inputs. The ball strikes the metallic plate as it falls and breaks the contact between the metal plate and the rest of the circuit. The plate switch is also connected to the timer which then stops timing.

In this way the time taken for the ball to fall a certain height is measured and hence its acceleration. The height fallen by the ball is measured by moving the plate switch up and down a wooden pole and measuring through use of a tape measure the distance between it and the bottom of the ball.

...read more.


Displacement (cm)




Average time(s)

...read more.


One improvement I would have like to make to the experiment concerned the metal plate switch. I realised that it took a certain amount of time to actually break the contact between the plate itself and the rest of the circuit which could affect the overall time recorded by the Digital voltmeter.

I believe it would be more efficient for a light sensor and a laser to replace the plate switch so the ball could fall uninterrupted and the time recorded would be more accurate. This is due to the fact that breaking a light beam can occur almost instantaneously while a metal plate is more difficult to move.

If I had more time I would have liked to increase the distance over which the ball fell. This would not only provide a more accurate value for g but would also allow me to calculate the terminal velocity of a given mass.  

Ideally it would be interesting to see how the gravitational field of the earth varied in different locations, perhaps by obtaining data on the acceleration of the ball in various geographical locations. It would then be possible to see how g can vary due to the fact that the mass of the earth is not a constant all across the surface.


        Page         30/04/2007

...read more.

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Mechanics & Radioactivity section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Mechanics & Radioactivity essays

  1. Determination of the acceleration due to gravity (g) by free fall.

    Diagram: Steel ball Ball release mechanism Controller box Clamp stand Receptor pad Equipment: > A free fall adaptor (ball release mechanism) > Receptor pad > Clamp stand > Electronic timing device > Metric stick > A steel ball Method: 1.

  2. Flywheel experiment

    = (2 x 0.98)/ (13.75x10-3 x 22.882) = 0.27ms-2 Therefore, Iexp = (13.49x10-3 - 1.35x10-2)/0.27 - (0.1 x [13.75x10-3]2) = 3.7x10-5 - 1.89x10-5 = 1.81x10-5 kgm2 To calculate the theoretic value for the moment of inertia; Itheory = MR2/ 2 = 6.859 x (0.1)2 / 2 = 3.43 x 10-2 kgm2 % error = [(Expected Value -

  1. Objectives: To determine the center of gravity of a body of irregular shapes

    If we still use such apparatus, we cannot draw the correct straight that can connect the two intersection points. As a result, incorrect intercept point and hence the center of gravity are drawn. To get rid of these errors, we should stick the paper to the board carefully with the cellulose tape.

  2. To determine the acceleration of gravity in a free fall experiment.

    that there was no air resistance during the ball's descent, therefore a = g , the constant of gravitational acceleration. The ball falls from rest so u = 0 The equation has been modified to now give x = ( gt� This can be compared to the equation of a straight line graph, y = m x + c.

  1. Experiment to Find Acceleration due to Gravity

    and m = mass (in kg) Normal Force, The normal force is the support force exerted upon an object which is in contact with another stable object. For example, if a book is resting upon a surface, then the surface is exerting an upward force upon the book in order to support the weight of the book.

  2. Physic lab report - study the simple harmonic motion (SHM) of a simple pendulum ...

    Take readings by using the apparatus in the following procedures: (a) Student holding the white foam board (Student A) (i) Hold the white foam board behind the set up so that the movement of the spring system is not disturbed by any other backgrounds.

  1. Use of technology in a hospital radiology department. The department of imaging is one ...

    safe for the patient, they do have a radioactive injection but this is a small amount and it goes away fast very quickly, some doctor tell PET scan patients that they should not have close contact with pregnant women, babies and young children for a few hours after their scan.

  2. The Physics of an Atomic Bomb

    reactivity required in going from a subcritical state to a supercritical state. The time required to raise the value of k from 1 to the maximum value of 2 or so is called the reactivity insertion time, or simply insertion time.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work