PHYS 130 Newton Second Law Lab Report


Experiment 2: Acceleration
Student A, Student B, Student C
PHYS 130 – XX
(Date goes here)
Below is a template for your physics lab report. When writing this lab report, pretend that your target
audience is a student who is also taking physics, but has not done the experiment yet.
In this section, you should write a short paragraph about the purpose of this experiment. Things that
you could include are:

What physical quantities are you trying to measure?
What hypothesis are you trying to test?
You can briefly mention the final conclusion here, but save the reasoning behind how you get to
your conclusion until the Conclusion section at the end of the report.
Things that you don’t need to include are:

You do not need to include historical background.
You don’t need to discuss the educational value of this experiment.
In this section, you write a paragraph (or two) to briefly explain the equipment used and outline how the
experiment was done.

Explain the purpose of the equipment and how they work.
If it is a sensor, you can also specify what quantities it is measuring (Is it measuring position?
Velocity? Time?)
Explain the experiment setup.
Outline what was measured/recorded. Also include how many data points.
Do NOT copy the procedure from the lab manual.
Every item in the “Data analysis and write-up” section in your lab manual has to be somewhere in this
lab report. Some item can go under the Data section, some can go under the Results section, and some
can go under the Discussion section. I’ll leave it up to your to decide what goes where.
Page 1 of 2

Present your data here. Usually you will repeat a measurement multiple times, so a table with
the data that you have recorded is often a good way to go. See example below.
𝑣𝑖 (m/s)
𝑣𝑓 (m/s)
𝑎 (m/s 2 )
Table 1. Explain what this table is.

Specify what physics equation was used to calculate what quantity.
You can include average and standard deviation in this section.
If graphs are required for a specific experiment, include them here.
The final results goes here. Using experiment 2 as an example:

Calculate the percent difference between the two acceleration values (without weight and with
Calculate the 𝑔𝑒𝑥𝑝 for without weight and with weight.
Compare to 𝑔 = 9.8 m/s 2 by calculating the percent error. Again, one for without weight, one
for with weight.

Comment on the quality of your measurement based on the standard deviation of your data.
Comment on the accuracy of your measurement based on the percent error found in the
previous section. Discuss the possible sources that might have caused this difference.
Based on your results above, what do you conclude? Make sure to include the reasoning on how you
arrived at your conclusion.
Page 2 of 2
Phys130 Lab
Experiment 5
Equipment/Supply List
A computer with:
o DataStudio or PASCO Capstone software
o Excel or similar spreadsheet program
Pasco ScienceWorkshop Interface
Law by looking at how acceleration of an object
depends on its mass and the force applied to it.
Graphically analyze the relationship between the three physical quantities above:
Experiment 5
Second Law, the acceleration of an object is given by
Eq. 1
is the net force, and
The acceleration of an object is proportional to the net force applied.
The acceleration of an object is inversely proportional to its mass.
You will verify these two statements in this lab.
In this lab, you will use hanging masses as a source of force to accelerate the glider on
the airtrack. You will examine how the acceleration depends on the force applied and
the mass in Part I and Part II, respectively.
Set up
1. Level the airtrack.
2. The two photogates should be plugged into Ch1 and Ch2 ports on the PASCO
Interface. Connect the PASCO to your computer using a USB cable.
3. Set up the software to measure:
a. Initial velocity ( ), and
b. Final velocity ( ).
4. You can ask your instructor to check your software configuration.
5. Attach a flag to glider 1 and weigh it on a scale. Record its mass in Table1.
Measure the mass of glider 2 (the one without a flag) and record it in Table 1.
Masses of other items are also given in Table 1.
Experiment 5
Table 1. The masses of the items used in this experiment.
Short black hanging mass
Tall black hanging mass
Short silver hanging mass
Tall silver haning mass
Glider 1 (with flag and string)
Glider 2 (without flag)
Glider mass
Part I: Dependence of Acceleration on Force
In this part, you will hang various amounts of hanging masses to pull the glider on the
airtrack and use the photogate to measure its initial and final velocities. From the two
velocities, you can calculate the acceleration. You want to determine whether forces
acting on the glider would affect its acceleration.
6. Attach one end of a string to the glider 1. Run the string over the pulley and
suspend the mass hanger on the other end.
7. Check that the glider can glide freely on the track, the pulley can rotate without
friction, and the mass hanger can fall without hitting any obstacles.
8. Place the two photogates at appropriate locations to measure the velocities (
and ) of the glider. Make sure the glider can pass through the second
photogate before the hanger hits the ground. Record the distance between the
two photogates below.
9. You will perform 10 trials, each with a different amount of mass attached to the
string (ranging from
). You can start with
(just the hanger) and work
your way up to
(hanger +
of additional hanging masses).
introduce masses to (or take away masses from) the system once you start. The
hanging masses have to be either on the hanger or the glider. You can swap the
Experiment 5
masses between the hanger and the glider to get the correct mass hanging on
the string.
10. Attach the desired masses to the string. Turn on the air pump and let the glider
move through the photogates. Record the total mass hanging from the string ,
and the two velocities and
in Table 2.
11. Let the hanging masses pull the glider through the two photogates. Record the
velocities and
in Table 2.
12. After you are done with the 10 trials, transfer the data to Excel for analysis.
a. The force acting on the glider is provided by the weight of the hanging
masses, which can be calculated by
b. You can calculate the acceleration
by using one of the kinematics
Eq. 2
Table 2. The relationship between the acceleration of the glider and the applied
force . Here, is the total mass hanging on the string,
is the weight of
these masses, is the velocity of the glider as it passes through the first photogate,
is the velocity of the glider as it passes through the second photogate. The
acceleration is calculated from the two velocities.
Experiment 5
Part II: Dependence of Acceleration on Mass
In this part, the mass hanging on the string should be kept the same to provide a
constant force. You can vary the total mass of the system by adding glider masses
onto the glider.
13. Attach
of mass to the string. Calculate its weight:
14. Perform four trials with different total masses:
a. One glider without any additional glider masses,
b. One glider with two glider masses (one on each side),
c. One glider with four glider masses (two on each side),
d. Two gliders with eight glider masses (two on each side for both gliders). You
may need to borrow additional glider masses from another group for this last
15. Record the velocities in Table 3.
16. Calculate the total mass of the system (glider + flag + string + hanger +
hanging masses + glider masses) for each trial and record it in Table 3.
Table 3. The relationship between the acceleration
glider system.
of the glider and the total mass of the
17. Enter the data into Excel spreadsheet for analysis.
Experiment 5
Data Analysis
1. Part I: Dependence of Acceleration on Force
a. Graph 1: use the data from Table 2 to plot
measurements and label your axes.
Use SI units for all
b. According to your graph, is acceleration proportional to applied force? How
can you tell?
c. Add a trendline and display its equation on your graph.
d. The slope of this
is affected by which physical quantity?
Hint: Different forces will result in different accelerations, but the slope of a
straight line is the same for all points. So, think about which physical
quantity was kept constant throughout Part I.
art I,
f. Compare the theoretical slope above to the measured slope in Graph 1.
Calculate a percent difference.
2. Part II: Dependence of Acceleration on Mass
a. Graph 2: use the data from Table 3 to plot
b. Is this graph linear? Why or why not?
c. Graph 3: for each mass
, calculate its reciprocal (
). Make a
d. According to Graph 3, is acceleration inversely proportional to accelerated
mass? Why or why not?
e. Display the equation
f. The slope of
is affected by which physical quantity?
h. Compare the theoretical slope above to the measured slope in Graph 3.
Calculate a percent difference.

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