The Newton’s 2nd Law Lab software is a simulation of an air track. A force will be applied to a mass on the air track which will accelerate it. We will investigate the effects of the force and the mass on the acceleration of the mass. So, we will be dealing with three variables. We will be essentially running two experiments: 1) the force (x-variable) versus the acceleration (y-variable) and, 2) the mass (x-variable) versus the acceleration (y-variable).
The objective of the lab is to find the relationships between F & a and between m & a and to derive an equation that relates all three variables.
All of the files are included in a Zip file. Upzip the files and run the software by double clicking on the Newtons2ndLawLab.exe file.
The following files are included:
System Requirements: PC Computer with Windows XP or later
Lab Handout: Newtons2ndLawLab.doc & PDF
Lab Handout Key: Newtons2ndLawLab_Key.doc & PDF
This File: InstructorNotes.doc
There are three versions of the air track simulation summarized as follows:
Simulation 1: The force can be varied directly, without using masses and converting to force. As the flag passes through the photo-gate, the velocity is output by the computer. This is the easiest of the simulations.
Simulation 2: The force can again be varied directly. As the flag passes through the photo-gate, the time it takes is output by the computer. The only difference from Simulation 1 is that the final velocity must be calculated first, before calculating out the acceleration.
Simulation 3: The force is caused by changing the mass pulling down on the string. As the flag passes through the photo-gate, the time it takes is output by the computer. In order to get accurate data, the mass that is added to create the force must be subtracted from the slider to keep the total mass that is accelerated constant. This is the most realistic and most difficult of the three simulations.
The included lab is based on Simulation 1. The lab could be used for the other simulations, but changes would be needed to the values in the data tables.
The lab is broken down into four parts. These parts can be assigned to different members of the lab group or as you see fit. When there are three members in the lab group, I would usually make section 1 a group assignment, and each member would take one of the remaining three parts.
The parts are broken down as follows:
Part 1 – Take the data, fill in the data tables, and calculate the acceleration from the final velocity of the slider on the air track.
Part 2 - Graph the F versus a data and find the relationship between F and a.
Part 3 – Graph the m versus a data and find the relationship between m and a.
Part 4 – Find the relationship of a F/m , make a data table of a versus F/m, and a final graph of a versus F/m to obtainn a straight line and an equation to confirm Newton’s 2nd law.
Each section of the lab includes a number of questions.
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