Acceleration and Gravity

Acceleration and Gravity

There are multiple important forces to consider when a car is on a ramp, including the force of gravity and the normal force. The car's weight and the normal force work to create motion and hold the car down to the ramp. These component forces are perpendicular to one another and can be found by using the car's weight and the angle of the ramp. If students wish to calculate the car's acceleration, they will notice that the mass term cancels out of their calculations, leaving only the angle and gravitational acceleration. In this lab, students will predict the acceleration of a car on a ramp at different angles. Then, they will measure the actual acceleration and evaluate their predictions. For added complexity, have students consider how the frictional forces between the ramp and wheels create torque.

Required Equipment

Arbor Scientific Car and Ramp Lab
Arbor Scientific Timer and Photogates
Arbor Scientific Hooked Mass Set
Arbor Scientific Economy Triple Beam Balance

January 01, 2011 Collin Wassilak

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