Physics Motion Lab

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Experiment 1.7: Graphical Analysis of Motion


To graphically analyze motion, two graphs are commonly used: Displacement vs. Time and Velocity vs. Time. These two graphs provide significant information about motion including distance/displacement, speed/velocity, and acceleration. The displacement and acceleration of a moving body can be obtained from its Velocity vs. Time graph by respectively finding the area and the slope of the graph.

Data Tables – Part I
Displacement (m)Time (s)
0.10 m0.37 s
0.20 m0.586 s
0.30 m0.761 s
0.40 m0.907 s
0.50 m1.041 s
0.60 m1.147 s
0.70 m1.263 s
0.80 m1.351 s
0.90 m1.439 s
1.00 m1.597 s
1.10 m1.646 s
1.20 m1.779 s
1.30 m1.956 s

Part II
Main Photogate at __(m)Time (s)Instantaneous Velocity (m/s) 0.30 m0.098 s0.41 m/s
0.40 m0.072 s0.55 m/s
0.50 m0.06 s0.67 m/s
0.60 m0.053 s0.75 m/s
0.70 m 0.047 s0.85 m/s
0.80 m0.043 s0.93 m/s
0.90 m0.042 s0.95 m/s
1.00 m0.038 s1.05 m/s
1.10 m0.038 s1.05 m/s
1.20 m0.041 s0.98 m/s
1.30 m0.049 s0.82 m/s
1.40 m0.05 s0.8 m/s
1.50 m0.055 s0.72 m/s

Part III

Estimated area
Velocity vs. Time graph
From t=0s to t=0.8s

0.49 m

Slope @ T= 0.8 s
Displacement vs. Time

= 0.6 m/s
Velocity vs. Time

= 0.3 m/s2

(Work shown on graph paper)

Summary Questions

1)Describe the meaning of the slopes of the graphs you obtained in Part III.  The slope of the Displacement vs. Time graph (0.6 m/s) represents the velocity of the moving cart at 0.8 seconds. The slope of the Velocity vs. Time graph (0.3 m/s2) represents the acceleration of the moving cart at 0.8 seconds.

2)Describe the motion of the cart based on your result from the Velocity vs. Time graph.  Based on the Velocity vs. Time graph, the cart is decelerating because the slope decreases as time passes and the slope represents acceleration/deceleration in a Velocity vs. Time graph.

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