Newton’s Second Law of Motion
As you are probably aware from everyday experience, heavier objects require a greater force to move around than lighter ones. Isaac Newton quantified observations like this one into what is probably the most useful expression in all physics: F = M a, otherwise known as Newton’s Law of Motion. Here, F is the net external force acting on mass M, and a is the resulting acceleration.
The primary objective for this lab is to test the conjecture that Newton’s second Law of Motion does apply to actual laboratory measured motions.
The interaction between various objects is responsible for a whole variety of phenomena in our inverse. If no interactions existed, our universe would consist of a bunch of objects engaged in motion at constant velocity in accordance to Newton’s first law. We couldn’t even perceive this universe, because our perceptions are due to interactions with the external environment.
Force is a critical physical concept. While we can’t test every possible situation in which force act, we do know that Newton’s second law was based on Newton’s observations that the acceleration of an object experience is directly proportional to the applied force. In equation form this is
F = Ma
Where F is applied force, a is its acceleration, and M is the coefficient relating force and acceleration. M is a property of the object being accelerated called mass and is directly proportional to how much force is needed to achieve a given acceleration. In other words, more massive objects require greater forces to achieve the acceleration as less massive objects. We will be testing the proportionality of acceleration to force in today’s lab exercise.