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Experiment 2: Free Fall

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Lawrence Lao                                                                                July 4. 2005

Patrick Marayag                                                                                Ms. Macabebe

Ps 15 A


One of the major topics discussed in Physics is the study of free fall, or the effect of the force of gravity on any object. This experiments aimed to investigate the mechanics or the action of gravity an object by analyzing certain vectors related to free fall versus time graphs. These studies on free fall are important if further studies of projectile motion are being made.

The objective of the study is to show that velocity, acceleration and distance are related such that one is actually the slope of the other. The slope of velocity is acceleration. The slope of distance is velocity. Hence, changes in one of the factors involving a certain object, the other related factors are also inevitably altered. This exercise also seeks to prove the constant of acceleration due to gravity.

The first activity utilized the ULI, photogate and Logger Pro systems to analyze graphs for free fall.

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0  + V0t – 1/2gt2, or D= V0t – 1/2gt2  .A quadratic equation has a form ax2 + bx + c = 0, where ax2 is –1/2gt2 , bx is V0t, and c is X – X0 which is also the displacement or as scalar quantity, the distance D. The graph of velocity vs. time is a linear equation, in which a slope may be taken by the equation y = mx + b.  Our equation is  V0 = gt. If the derivative of the graph of distance vs. time were taken, the resulting derivative would be the linear graph of velocity vs. time. Furthermore, if the derivative of the graph of velocity vs. time were taken, we would have the graph of acceleration vs. time, which has the equation y = m, or a horizontal graph. This graph is logical for acceleration, since in a free fall, the acceleration of the object is at a constant 9.8m/s2.

The average slope of the graph of velocity vs. time in five trials was taken to compare with the theoretical acceleration of gravity (9.8m/s2).

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However, the orientation of the graph may be changed. Remember that before jumping, the indicator arrow was flipped upwards. The effect on the graph was it shot downwards at peaks of the jump, and it moved upwards whenever the representative landed. If the indicator arrow is flipped downward, the previous graph will also be flipped. Instead of an increasing positive value as one descends, the meter will read an increasingly negative value. This is simply an indication of the direction of the acceleration., which going down.

In this activity, we have learned the relationships between time, distance, velocity and acceleration. In addition, we are also able to confirm the presence of acceleration due to gravity. Even if the theoretical is 9.8m/s2 , the presence of factors like air resistance lessens this value.

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