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Falling Ball Experiment

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Experiment to find the acceleration due to gravity of a falling ball Method I used the following pieces of equipment: * Electromagnet * Timer * Trapdoor * Ball bearing * A two way switch * Wires * Stand and clamp I set up an electrical circuit so that the timer and the electromagnet are both connected to the same switch so that as the electromagnet switches off the timer switches on. Below the electromagnet there will be a metal trap door acting as a contact switch. Once the contact is opened the circuit will be broken and the timer will stop. This enables me to set the electromagnet a certain height away from the trap door and attach the ball bearing to it. Once the electromagnet is switched off the ball bearing will fall and hit the trapdoor. The timer will start exactly when the ball bearing begins to fall and stop as soon as the trapdoor opens. ...read more.


Therefore: s = u + v t 2 ? S = 1/2 (u + v)t but: v = u +at ? s= 1/2 (u + u +at)t or s = ut + 1/2 at� We can rearrange this last formula by substituting the following equation: t = (v - u) a This gives us the final formula: v� = u� + 2as For this experiment I have the displacement and the time. I also know the initial velocity because the ball bearing starts from rest and so has an initial velocity of 0 ms. To find the acceleration due to gravity I would use the following formula: s = ut + 1/2 at� If the initial velocity = 0 you are left with the following: s = 1/2 at� ? a = 2s t� The acceleration can now be found. ...read more.


This means that the acceleration = 10.2 ms��. Errors When measuring the height of the electromagnet errors may have been made. For example the ruler may no have been straight. Also the reading may not be correct due to parallax. The ruler is quite accurate and has an error of ?0.0005 m. Errors when measuring the height can be easily avoided. The most significant error comes as a result of a delay between the electromagnet being turned off and the metal losing its magnetism. This results in a delay before the ball drops. This will add more time to the results. I have estimated the acceleration due to gravity to be 9.714ms��. The actual measurement is 9.81ms��. I will now calculate the percentage error for the acceleration due to gravity: 9.81 - 9.714 = 0.096 0.096 ? 100 = 9.6 Percentage error = 9.6% Conclusion I have found that the height is proportional to time�. The gradient of the graph is equal to 1/2 the acceleration. On an ideal graph the gradient would be 4.9 ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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