Gizmo: Uniform Circular Motion

Topics: Mass, Velocity, Kinematics Pages: 4 (1137 words) Published: December 3, 2013
Exploration Guide: Uniform Circular Motion

Go to and login. Please type or write your answers on a separate sheet of paper, not squished in the spaces on these pages. When relevant, data collected should be presented in a table. Objective: To explore the acceleration and force of an object that travels a circular path at constant speed. Motion of this kind is called uniform circular motion.

Part 1: Centripetal Acceleration
1. The Gizmotm shows both a top view and a side view of a puck constrained by a string, traveling a circular path on an air table. Be sure the Gizmo has these settings: radius 8 m, mass 5 kg, and velocity 8 m/s. Then click Play and observe the motion of the puck. a. The puck in the Gizmo is traveling at a constant speed, but it is NOT traveling at a constant velocity. Explain why.

b. Because the velocity of the puck is changing (because its direction is changing), the puck must be experiencing an acceleration. Click BAR CHART and choose Acceleration from the dropdown menu. Check Show numerical values. The leftmost bar shows the magnitude of the acceleration, or |a|. (The other two bars show the x- and y-components of the acceleration, ax and ay.) What is the value of |a|? Jot this value down, along with radius = 8 m, so that you can refer to it later.

c. Keeping velocity set to 8 m/s, set radius to 4 m. (To quickly set a slider to a value, typing the number in the field to the right of the slider and press Enter.) What is the new magnitude of the acceleration, |a|? Jot down this new value along, with radius = 4 m, with your previous data.

d. Now set the radius to 2 m. What is the resulting value for |a|? Record these values along with the others.

e. Examine the corresponding pairs of values for the radius and the magnitude of the acceleration, |a|. How does |a| change when the radius is divided by 2? How do you think |a| changes when the radius is multiplied by 2? Multiplied by 3? f. Choose your own...
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