Picket Fence Free Fall
Josh Dehaan, and Nick Edwards
Monday November 04, 2012
Purpose: To measure the acceleration of a freely falling object (g) to better than 0.5% precision using a Picket Fence and a Photogate.
Materials: Computer, Vernier computer interface, Logger Pro, Vernier Photogate, Picket Fence, and a clamp or ring stand to secure Photogate.
Procedure: See Lab Sheet
1. Inspect your Picket Fence. You will be dropping it through a Photogate to measure g. The distance, measured from one edge of a black band to the same edge of the next band, is 5.0 cm. What additional information will you need to determine the average speed of the Picket Fence as it moves through the Photogate?
Answer: The additional information that is required to determine the average speed of the Picket Fence as it moves through the Photogate is the amount of time it takes for the Picket Fence to travel the 5.0 cm.
2. If an object is moving with a constant acceleration, what is the shape of its velocity vs time graph?
Answer: If an object is moving at a constant acceleration then the shape of the corresponding velocity vs time graph will look like a linear line going up diagonally on the graph.
3. Does the initial Velocity of an object have anything to do with its acceleration? For example, compared to dropping an object, if you throw it downward would the acceleration be different after you released it?
Answer: The acceleration would not be different if the rock was thrown down than just released. The only difference would be the initial velocity would be higher because throwing it doesn’t affect (g).
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