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

Gravity and Acceleration

Extracts from this document...



Gravity and Acceleration

Aim: To show that the acceleration of a freely falling body is equal to the gravitational pull of the Earth. To give a comparison of the various values obtained using different methods and show how external factors play a role in the measurement of the acceleration of a body.

Hypothesis: If a body is dropped from a height then its acceleration will be equal to the gravitational pull of the earth because a freely falling body is attracted towards the earth due to its gravity independent of the mass of the object and neglecting air resistance.

Abstract: In this experiment the following principles will be investigated.

  • If an object held near the surface of the earth is released, it will fall and accelerate, or pick up speed, as it descends. This acceleration is caused by gravity, the force of attraction between the object and the earth.
  • Falling objects accelerate in response to the force exerted on them by Earth’s gravity. Different objects accelerate at the same rate, regardless of their mass.

Microsoft® Encarta® Reference Library 2003. © 1993-2002 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

...read more.


Given below is the table of the readings taken using the photogate for acceleration of the picket fence. The graph obtained using the photogate shows a reading of 9.985m/s.

Logger Pro Column Data:

Time        GateState        Distance         Velocity            Acceleration

s                                     m                    m/s                m/s²

0.0212828        1        0                

0.0431212        0                        

0.0628832        1        0.05                1.4057                 9.799

0.0790828        0                        

0.0948828        1        0.1                1.7219                   9.96

0.1083        0                        

0.121821        1        0.15                1.987              9.78

0.13352        0                        

0.145584        1        0.2                2.2248           10.16

0.156083        0                        

0.167009        1        0.25                2.439                     9.83

0.176583        0                        

0.186725        1        0.3                

0.195618        0                        


While using the logger pro software the picket fence was released half way after the time limit.

The laser of the photogate must be cut by the picket fence before it is released.

Ticker Tape:


...read more.


Where M is the mass of the trolley, m is the mass of the weight,   a is the acceleration and g is the gravitational pull.

   = (0.96 – 0.1) 0.375/0.1 = 3.225m/s2

Error %= 9.8-3.225/9.8 * 100 = 67.09%

According to this value of acceleration the value of g should be 3.225m/s2 which proves that there are errors in the experiment.

The reason for this is that the weight is not allowed to freely fall and this causes a variation in the acceleration.


From the above experiments we can see that acceleration of a freely falling body would be equal to gravity if it wasn’t for the external factors the variables. One of the main factors is air resistance.

Also the value for the photogate is much more accurate as air resistance is low and there is no friction involved.


  • Weight used in the ticker tape experiment must not be too heavy.
  • If the ticker tape were to be removed then the results could be more accurate.
  • The length to be covered by the trolley before it stops must be increased.
  • The whole pulley system could be eliminated and only the weight and the ticker tape could be used. The weight can be released and the ticker tape fixed to it. This will give us the acceleration during freefall.

...read more.

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Fields & Forces 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 Fields & Forces essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Experiment to determine gravity from a spring using digital techniques

    3 star(s)

    The gradient is . The uncertainty in g is calculated by combining this uncertainty value with the uncertainty for k. So the value for g calculated in this experiment is: Uncertainty in Each Point The uncertainties in the mass are once again �0.001kg, which is very small, and again the error bars on this graph are too small to see.

  2. Peer reviewed

    Investigating the forces acting on a trolley on a ramp

    5 star(s)

    Thus, because in this experiment u was 0, the resulting rearranged formula was; a = v2 / 2s Hence, it was possible to find the acceleration along the slope by taking the gradient of the resulting regression lines plotted through the data.

  1. Peer reviewed

    Determination of the acceleration due to gravity (g)

    4 star(s)

    to find out which method is the best to use to get the most reliable results. The other two methods are: Using a ticker-timer When weight is falling down, it pulls a tape through a ticker-timer. The spacing dots on the tape increases steadily and showing that the weight is accelerating.

  2. Objective To find the acceleration due to gravity by means of a simple ...

    It causes the error in calculating the slope and so the acceleration of the motion. Absolute error of length = 0.2mm Absolute error of time = 0.01s Experiment value of g = 9.52 ms-2 g = ==> = 2 Find the for each experiment by using the above formula: Effective

  1. Experiment to determine gravity from a spring using analogue techniques

    0.04 1 4.6 4.70 2 4.6 3 4.8 4 4.8 0.05 1 5.0 5.05 2 5.2 3 5.0 4 5.0 0.06 1 5.5 5.45 2 5.4 3 5.4 4 5.5 0.07 1 5.8 5.80

  2. A careful quantitative study of the relationship between the velocity of a trolley down ...

    This would have lessened the effect of the uncertainty, as the ratio between the two values would have been increased. The wheels on the trolley add complications to the effect of the angle of the slope on the velocity of the trolley.

  1. Modeling a basketball shoot in the lab

    and stand - A tray of sand - Meters ruler - Protractor - Measurement tape - Light gate - Table tennis ball In this experiment, a spring loaded plunger is used to shoot the ball. With the idea of compressing and extending a spring, it creates a force and a velocity to a ball.

  2. An Experiment to Evaluate the Acceleration due to Gravity using a Spiral Spring

    The ruler used to measure the length of the spring gave readings to 0.001m and there would therefore be an error of 0.0005m The closest value to the accepted value of g was that with a load of 1.2kg (g= 8.34ms-²).

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