When a car is on a ramp, a portion of its weight works to roll it down the ramp. Another portion works to hold it down to the ramp. These two portions, or 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 (as in this lab) they will notice that the mass term cancels out of their calculations, leaving only the angle and acceleration due to gravity. 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.
Workshop Stand, Ramp, Car, Bolt, Data Logger, 2 Photogates, Hooked Masses, Balance (electronic or triple-beam).