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

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

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

ACCELERATION OF GRAVITY

AIM

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

DIAGRAM

METHOD

  • The experiment is carried out using the apparatus, as set up above.
  • The switch is used to open and close one circuit at a time.
  • The distance for the ball to fall is measured between the ball and the trapdoor with a ruler; a set square is used to see where the ball coincides with the ruler, making it a more accurate measurement.
  • Adjusting the height of the trapdoor can change the distance.
  • When circuit A is closed the power supply travels to the electromagnet, which magnetises the ball.
  • The timer is set to zero.
  • As the switch is moved, braking circuit A and closing circuit B, the power supply is cut off to the electromagnet and the ball falls.  The power supply now travels to the timer and timing commences.  The two actions happen simultaneously.
  • When the ball falls through the trapdoor the circuit is broken and timing stops as there is no power supply.
  • The time shown on the timer represents how long it took for the ball to reach the trapdoor.
  • The experiment is repeated several times at different heights, with 2 readings for each height.
  • Results are put into a table showing the distance, times, an average time and a time.
...read more.

Middle

0.079

0.326

0.256

0.256

0.256

0.066

0.249

0.229

0.222

0.2255

0.051

0.171

0.187

0.185

0.186

0.035

0.114

0.150

0.154

0.152

0.023

The collected data will be presented graphically to find a value for gravity, this can be done by using an equation for constant acceleration, where

 x = displacement, u = initial velocity, a = acceleration, t = time

x = ut +  at²

It is assumed 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 =  gt²

This can be compared to the equation of a straight line graph, y = m x + c.

x = g  t²  + 0

           

y =  m  x  + c                              

Where  m = gradient of graph

              c = intercept

              y = vertical axis – displacement

              x = horizontal axis – time

GRAPH

...read more.

Conclusion

Air resistance could be a factor, but again, you would imagine the air resistance to be the same as the same ball is used for each reading.  If however, air resistance was occurring, a slightly different sized ball could used to repeat the experiment and see if it makes a difference.

One theory that could explain the differences in the results is retained magnetism.  When the power is cut off to the electromagnet, a small amount of magnetism is retained.  This is lost gradually over a very short period of time.  Thus holding the ball up for a very short amount of time, not enough to visually notice but perhaps enough to make a difference and cause a slight error.

        Another method for the experiment that would prevent some of these errors occurring is to use a multiflash photograph, which involves the use of a stroboscope.  The release of the ball triggers a camera to photograph the ball at each flash.

...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. Free essay

    The acceleration of a ball down various inclines

    3 star(s)

    and decomposition of white light, calculus, and his Three Laws of Physics, but amid these fine achievements, he was the first to fully explain what gravity is. His inspiration was a falling apple, and he wondered why the apple went towards the ground, and not in any direction.

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

    The Earth is surrounded by a gravitational field which exerts a force on any mass in it. In terms of this experiment the ball is attracted towards the earth as it falls. I read that experiments done in the past have shown that at a particular place all bodies falling

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

    Clamp the Ball Release Mechanism in the vertical position as illustrated in my diagram, at the desired height. 2. Put the Ball Receptor plate on the table, positioning it beneath the Ball Release Mechanism. 3. Make several test drops to insure that the ball will strike the Ball Receptor Plate.

  2. SHM: determining acceleration due to gravity

    Procedure 1. The apparatus was set up as shown in Figure 1. 2. The bob was moved to a height so that the attached string was taut and an angle of 10 was made with the vertical. 3. The period (t1) for 20 complete oscillations was measured and it was recorded in the following table.

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

    The motion of the board disturbs us to mark the intersection points on the edges. As a result, the intercept point of the lines drawn on the paper do not really represents the center of gravity of the irregularly shaped board.

  2. Carry out an experiment of simple harmonic motion using a simple pendulum and determine ...

    Pendulums don't lose energy it is simply converted from one form to another and then back again, so the motion is continuous until an external force acts on it. The energies used are gravitational potential energy that becomes kinetic energy and vice versa.

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

    2.85E-02 3.06E-02 1.38E+00 <BR />8.20E+01 5.40E+00 -2.51E-01 2.85E-02 9.17E-02 9.17E-01 <BR />8.30E+01 5.47E+00 -2.43E-01 3.06E-02 1.22E-01 4.59E-01 <BR />8.40E+01 5.53E+00 -2.30E-01 2.65E-02 1.83E-01 9.17E-01 <BR />8.50E+01 5.60E+00 -2.16E-01 2.65E-02 2.14E-01 4.59E-01 <BR />8.60E+01 5.67E+00 -1.96E-01 2.65E-02 3.06E-01 1.38E+00 <BR />8.70E+01 5.73E+00 -1.71E-01 2.24E-02 3.67E-01 9.17E-01 <BR />8.80E+01 5.80E+00 -1.63E-01 2.04E-02

  2. Experiment to Find Acceleration due to Gravity

    As such, friction depends upon the nature of the two surfaces and upon the degree to which they are pressed together. Conclusion I have concluded from my results that the gravitational field strength of the earth is 9.8 N/Kg. This is only accurate to two significant figures because of the limitations of quality and accuracy of the experiment.

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