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Unit 1: Kinematics

Lab: Acceleration due to Gravity

Purpose: to Experimentally determine the numerical value of the acceleration due to gravity (g) and then compare the result with the accepted value of 9.8 m/s2 [down]. Materials: golf ball, stopwatch, metre stick, graph paper. Procedure: 1. Drop a golf ball from a pre-measured, relatively high level, and time how long it takes to hit the ground. Repeat four more times from the same level to obtain an average time. 2. Toss a golf ball into the air. Start the timer when the ball first hits the ground. Stop the timer when it hits the ground a second time. Also, record how high the ball bounces. Repeat four more times. Calculations: 1. Use the kinematics equations and the data collected in parts 1. and 2. to determine your experimental values for acceleration due to gravity. You will do one calculation using the average time value in step 1, and five separate calculations for the data from step 2. 2. Determine the percentage error for each of your six experimental values for g. Discussion: 1. Which method produced the most accurate results? 2. Discuss some sources of error in this experiment, and how they could be reduced or eliminated. 3. A ball is shot upwards at 98 m/s. Find the position and velocity of the ball for the next 20 seconds, and summarize your results in a table. Plot graphs of position versus time and velocity versus time, on the same sheet of graph paper (but of course on separate sets of axes). Assume that g = 9.8 m/s2 [down]. 4. Is the downward acceleration of a dropped object really a constant? Why/why not?