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UTAR

FHSC1014 Mechanics
Trimester 1

LABORATORY MANUAL
FHSC1014
MECHANICS

TRIMESTER 1

UNIVERSITY TUNKU ABDUL RAHMAN

CENTRE FOR FOUNDATION STUDIES

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FHSC1014 Mechanics
Trimester 1

Introduction
1. Making measurements
Physics is a field of science, which is quantitative in nature. In any quantitative
study, measurements are made and these measurements should always be regarded as
estimations. The precision of the final result of an experiment cannot be better than
the precision
recision of the measurement made during the experiment, so the aim of the
experiment is to make estimations as good as possible. Therefore, measurement
should be repeated at least once to increase its precision and accuracy.
There are many factors that contribute to the accuracy of a measurement. The
accuracy in a particular experiment may be due to the observer, or to the instrument
used, or to a combination of both.
Errors have a special meaning in science. Errors have a different
different meaning from
mistakes where errors cannot be avoided in measurements. Students doing
experiments MUST record the uncertainties and errors in their measurement. Students
MUST take errors and uncertainties into account when calculating and presenting
presentin
their results in laboratory reports.
2. Scrutinize and inscribe the readings
(i) Vernier caliper

Parts of a vernier
nier caliper:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

Outside jaws:
jaws used to measure external lengths
Inside jaws:
jaws used to measure internal lengths
Depth probe:
probe used to measure depths
Main scale (cm)
Main scale (inch)
Vernier (cm)
Vernier (inch)
Retainer: used to block movable part to allow the easy transferring a
Retainer:
measurement

Both the main scale and the vernier scale readings are taken into account while
making measurement. The main scale is the first reading on the main scale

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immediately to the left of the zero of the vernier scale while the vernier scale reading
is mark on the vernier scale which exactly coincides or aligns with a mark on the main
scale.
Example:

2.4 cm
cm

0.07 cm

= 2.47

(ii) Micrometer screw gauge

In order to measure an object, the object is placed between the anvil and
spindle (jaws). The thimble is rotated using the ratchet until the object is lightly
gripped.. DO NOT OVER TIGHTEN! Note that the ratchet (NOT THE
THIMBLE) should be used to secure the object firmly between the jaws,
otherwise the instrument could be damaged or give an inconsistent reading. It is
recommended 3 clicks
licks of the ratchet are obtained before taking the reading.

Procedure on how to read the scale on micrometer screw gauge is shown in the figure
below.

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FHSC1014 Mechanics
Trimester 1

3. Data and error analysis

Performing the experiment and collecting data is only the beginning of the
process of completing an experiment in science. Understanding the results of any
given experiment is always the central goal of the experiment. Presenting those results
in a clear concise manner completes the experiment. This overview
overview of the complete
process is as valid in an instructional laboratory course as in a research environment.
You will not have learned any physics if you did not understand the experiment.
Data analysis should not be delayed until all of the data is recorded.
reco
Try to do
a quick analysis and plot as the data is being collected. This will help to avoid the
problem of spending a long time collecting bad data because of a mistake in
experimental procedure or an equipment failure.
Data analysis means understanding
understanding what your results mean. When you analyze
the data, try to think through the physical processes which have occurred. Write your
train of thought down. Ultimately, the goal is for you to understand physics and the
world a bit better. Your understanding of your results probably occurs in stages, with
each stage being a refinement.
Sometimes your results will not support and may even contradict the physical
explanations suggested. Accept the results but with a few suggestions to the reasons
for this apparent
arent failure of the physical laws. Do NOT simply blame the equipments.
Try to explain what went wrong or what competing effects have come into play.
The quality of the data, determines to a great extent, what conclusions can be
reached from them. If you are looking for a small effect, say a total change of 1 mm,
and the uncertainties in your data is 2 mm then you really cannot make any solid
conclusion. A measurement of experimental results is of little value if nothing is
known about the probable size of
o its error.

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FHSC1014 Mechanics
Trimester 1

The quality of a measurement depends on the precision and accuracy of the

measurement. A good measurement must be close to the true value and be
reproducible.
(i) Quantifying the uncertainty
All measurements have uncertainties or errors. The uncertainty given in any
measurement indicates the type of instrument used for the measurement as well as the
possible range of value measured. Basically, for analogue measuring instruments,
except for vernier caliper and micrometer screw gauge, the uncertainty is half of the
smallest division of the scale. For digital instruments, the uncertainty is given by the
smallest different in the reading.
(ii) Error propagation rules
The Absolute Error of a quantity Z is given by (Z), always 0.
The Relative Error of a quantity Z is given by

(Z )
Z

, always 0.

To determine the error in a quantity Z that is the sum of other quantities, add
the absolute errors of those quantities (Rules 2 below). To determine the error
in a quantity Z that is the product of other quantities, add the relative errors of
those quantities (Rules 3, 4, 5 below).

1.
2.
3.

Relation
Z = cA
Z=ABC

Z=ABC

4.

Z=

5.

Z = Ax B yC z

AB
C

Error
(Z ) = c ( A) (Use only is A is a single term, i.e. Z = 3x)
(Z ) = ( A) + (B ) + (C ) + ...

( A) (B ) (C )

(Z ) =
+
+
+ ... Z
B
C
A

( A) (B ) (C )

(Z ) =
+
+
+ ... Z
B
C
A

( B )
(C )
( A )

(Z ) = x
+ y
+z
+ ... Z
A
B
C

a, b, c, ..., z represent constants.

A, B, C, ..., Z represent measured or calculated quantities
(A), (B), (C), , (Z) represent the errors in A, B, C, ..., Z respectively.
(iii) Percentage error and percentage difference

In several of the laboratory exercises, the true value of the quantity being
measured will be considered to be known. In those cases, the accuracy of the
experiment will be determined by comparing the experimental result with the known
value. Normally this will be done by calculating the percentage error of your

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FHSC1014 Mechanics
Trimester 1

measurement compared to the given known value. If E stands for the experimental
value, and K stands for the known value, then the percentage error is given by
Percentage error =

EK
100 %
K

In other cases we will measure a given quantity by two different methods.

There will then be two different experimental values, E1 and E2, but the true value
may not be known. For this case, we will calculate the percentage difference
between the two experimental values. Note that this tells nothing about the accuracy
of the experiment, but will be a measure of the precision. The percentage difference
between the two measurements is defined as
Percentage difference =

E2 E1
E1 + E2 2

100 %

4. Graphical representation and analysis of uncertainties in slopes and

intercepts
In the physical sciences, it is helpful to represent data in the form of a graph
when interpreting the overall trend of the data. Data analysis graphs are useful to
determine the relationships exist between various quantities, how the data is
distributed, and so forth, which may be hard to figure out merely by speculating the
tabulated values only.
There are a few essential aspects when plotting a graph:
Choice of scale
Choose a scale for each of the axes with the main divisions on the graph paper
that are easily subdivided and such that the entire range of values may be in included.
If the values to be plotted are exceptionally large or small, use some multiplying
factor that permits using a maximum of two or three digits to indicate the value of the
main division.
Label the title, and naming the abscissa scale (X-axis) and the ordinate
scale (Y-axis)
After you have decided which variable is to be plotted on which axis, neatly
letter the name of the quantity being plotted together with the proper unit. Abbreviate
units in standard form, e.g. meters (m). Students should always ensure that the correct
units are used in the experimental work.
(i) Plotting and drawing the graph the best-fit line
In drawing the graph, it is not always possible to make all the points lie on a
smooth curve. In such cases, a smooth curve should be drawn through the series of
points to follow the general trend and thus represent an average.

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FHSC1014 Mechanics
Trimester 1

Before plotting a linear graph, its important to determine the centroid point
of the data set. Centroid is the point, which shows the mean of X-values and Y-values.
The function of centroid is to reduce the effect of data scattering.

( )

X + X 2 + ... + X N Y1 + Y2 + ... + YN
,
Centroid, x , y = 1

N
N

Add centroid point to linear graph and circle the centroid so as to differentiate
it from other points. Then, draw the best straight line which must pass through the
centroid.
(ii) Linear Least Squares Fits
Often measurements are taken by changing one variable (call it x) and
measuring how second variable (call it y) changes as a function of thr first variable. In
many case of interest it is assumed that there exists a linear relationship between the
two variables. In mathematical terms one can say that the variables obey an equation
of the form

y = mx + c

(Eq. 1)

where m and c are constants. This also implies that if a graph is made with x as the
horizontal axis and y as the vertical axis, it will be a straight line with m equal to the
slope (y/x) and c equal to the y intercept (the value of y at x = 0).
The question is how to best verify that the data do indeed obey Equation 1.
One way is to make a graph of the data, and then try to draw the best straight line
possible through the data points. This will give a qualitative answer to the question, it
is possible to give a quantitative answer to the question by process described below.
The measurements are repeated measurements in the sense that they are to be
considered together in the attempt to determine to what extent the data obey Equation
1. It is possible to generalize the idea of minimizing the sum of squares of the
deviations. The result of the generalization to two-variable linear data is called a linear
least squares fit to the data. It is also sometimes referred to as a linear regression.
The aim of the process is to determine the values of m and c that produce the
best straight-line fit to the data. Any choice of the values for m and c will produce a
straight line, with values y determined by the choice of x. For any such straight line
(determined by a given m and c) there will be a deviation between each of the
measured ys and the ys from the straight-line fit at the value of the measured xs. The
least squares fit is that m and c for which the sum of the squares of these deviations is
a minimum sum of the squares of the deviations are given by the following equations:
n
n n

n xi y i xi y i
1 1

(Eq. 2)
m= 1
2
n
n
2
n x i xi
1
1

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FHSC1014 Mechanics
Trimester 1

n
n 2 n
n
y i xi xi y i xi
1
1
1
c= 1
2
n
n

2
n x i xi
1
1

(Eq. 3)

Here n is the number of data points, xi and yi are the measured values, and the

stands for the summation from i = 1 to i = n.

We can find the best values for the gradient and the intercept of a line through
a set of x-y data using Equations 2 and 3. However, it is not possible to decide how
many figures m and c should be quoted to until the uncertainties in m and c, which we
will write as m and c respectively, have been calculated.
There are a number of mathematical steps required before we can arrive at
explicit equations for m and c. We will not go through the steps here, but simply
quote the results:

m =

1
2
2

1
2

1
2

2
n xi x i
1
1
n

c =

xi 2

(Eq. 4)

1
2

n 2 n
n xi xi
1
1

(Eq. 5)

where is the uncertainty in each y-value of the data point. It is usual, when fitting a
line to data in which the uncertainty in each point is constant, to make this uncertainty
to be standard deviation of the distribution of the y-value about the fitted line. This is
given by
1

1 n
2
=
( y i mxi c) 2

n 2 1

(Eq. 6)

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FHSC1014 Mechanics
Trimester 1

Example
In an experiment to study the behavior of the silicon diodes when cooled, the voltage
across a diode was measured as a function of the diode temperature. Table 1 shows the
data gathered for the application of linear square fits method in plotting a straight-line
graph.
Table 1: Columns required for fitting a line to data using the method of least squares.
xi (K)

yi (V)

xi yi (KV)

xi2 (K2)

300

0.630

189.00

90000

290

0.653

189.37

84100

280

0.670

187.60

78400

270

0.678

183.06

72900

260

0.695

180.70

67600

250

0.705

176.25

62500

240

0.735

176.40

57600

230

0.748

172.40

52900

xi = 2120

yi = 5.514

xi yi = 1454.42

(xi2) = 566000

m=

8(1454.42) (2120)(5.514) 54.32

=
= 1.616 10 3 VK 1
2
33600
8(566000) (2120)

and use Equation 3 to find the intercept of the line on the y-axis

c=

566000(5.514) (2120)(1454.42) 37553.6

=
= 1.1176 V
33600
8(566000) (2120) 2

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FHSC1014 Mechanics
Trimester 1

Practical 1
_____________________________________________________________________
The Use of Vernier Caliper and the Micrometer Screw Gauge
Objective:
To determine the density of oil, copper and PVC.
Apparatus and Materials:
1.
Measuring cylinder
2.
Copper wire
3.
PVC tube
4.
Micrometer screw gauge
5.
Vernier caliper
6.
Oil
Equipment:
1.
Electronic balance
Part 1: Determination of the density of oil
Procedure:
1.
Measure the mass of an empty measuring cylinder.
2.
Fill the measuring cylinder with 100 cm oil.
3.
Measure the mass of the measuring cylinder filled with oil.
4.
Calculate the density of oil.
Part 2: Determination of the density of copper
Procedure:
1.
Measure the length of a copper wire provided.
2.
Using a micrometer screw gauge, measure the diameter of the copper wire at
several places. Determine the average diameter of the copper wire.
3.
Measure the mass of the copper wire using an electronic balance.
4.
Calculate the volume of the copper wire.
5.
Calculate the density of copper.
Part 3: Determination of the density of PVC
Procedure:
1.
Measure the external and internal diameter of the PVC tube.
2.
Measure the length of the PVC tube.
3.
Calculate the volume of the PVC tube.
4.
Measure the mass of the PVC tube using an electronic balance.
5.
Calculate the density of PVC.

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FHSC1014 Mechanics
Trimester 1

Practical 2
_____________________________________________________________________
To investigate the vector addition
Objective:
To verify the parallelogram law of forces.
Apparatus and Materials:
1.
Pulley
2.
Slotted mass
3.
Cardboard
4.
White paper
5.
Pin
6.
Retort stands
7.
Metre rule
8.
Protractor
Setup:
1.
A piece of cardboard, white paper, string and slotted masses are setup as in
Figure 2.1.

Pulley

String
r
P

O
P
Slotted
mass

r
Q

Q
White
paper

r r r
R = P+Q

Thumb tack
Cardboard
Note: Ensure that the masses P, Q and R are not in contact with the cardboard to
avoid friction.
Figure 2.1

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Trimester 1

Theory:
Forces which has a magnitude and direction is called vector quantity. The additions of
two or more forces called resultant forces. The magnitude and direction of the
r
r
resultant is obtained using the parallelogram law as shown in figure. If P and Q are
two forces added together and , is the angle between them, then the resultant R
r
r
obtained is the diagonal of the parallelogram constructed by P and Q .

r
P

r r r
R = P+Q
r
Q

Figure 2.2
Using the cosine rule:
r r
r2 r2
r r
P + Q = P + Q 2 P Q cos(180 o )
r
r2 r2
r r
R = P + Q + 2 P Q cos
From the equations above, if the angle between two forces is known then the
magnitude of the resultant can be determined.

Procedure:
1.
Place suitable masses at point P, Q and R until equilibrium is reached.
2.
Mark the positions O, X, and Y of the string on the white paper using some
pins. Measure the angle made by the strings.
3.
Repeat step (1) and (2) by using different masses for P, Q and R for eight (8)
sets of readings. State the weight of slotted mass in Newton.
4.
Tabulate: P, Q, R and angle in Table 1.
5.
Using an appropriate scale, draw a parallelogram in the graph paper to
represent each set of forces P, Q, R and the angle .
6.
For each set of force P and Q the magnitude of the resultant R can be obtained
by three methods. First, directly from Table 1; second from the diagonal of the
parallelogram formed by P and Q; and third, using the Cosine Rule.
7.
Record the result for all the three method in Table 2.
8.
From table compare the results of the three methods and give your comments.
9.
Does your result verify the parallelogram law of forces? Give comment on
10.
When will P2 + Q2 = P + Q2 ?

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FHSC1014 Mechanics
Trimester 1

Practical 3
_____________________________________________________________________
To investigate the trajectory of a small ball as it rolls off a surface which is
inclined to the horizontal
Objective:

To investigate the trajectory of a two dimensional motion.

Apparatus and Materials:
1.
Ramp
2.
Wooden block
3.
Pendulum bob
4.
Plumb line
5.
Steel ball
6.
Wooden board
7.
Carbon paper
8.
Meter rule
9.
Plasticine

Figure 3.1

Setup:
1.
A ramp has been set up at the edge of a bench as shown in the Figure 3.1.
2.
Suspend a plum-line from the edge of the bench as shown in Figure 3.2.
3.
Mount a wooden board horizontally using two clamps so that the board is
situated about the bottom of the ramp.
4.
Place a sheet of blank paper on top of the board.
5.
Place a piece of carbon paper on the top of the blank paper. The ink-side of the
carbon paper should be facing down.
6.
When a ball is released at the top of the ramp, the ball will travel through a
trajectory as shown in Figure 3.2.

Figure 3.2

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FHSC1014 Mechanics
Trimester 1

Theory:
Let:
g = 9.80 ms-2
u = speed of the ball as it leaves the ramp
k = constant
y = vertical distance (between the bottom of the ramp and the top of the board)
x = horizontal distance (between the plum-line and mark on the paper]
The equation which relates x and y is
y g (1 + k ) x
=
+k
x
2u

Procedure:
1.
Position the ball at the top of the ramp. Release the ball so that it rolls down
the ramp and onto the board below.
2.
Remove the carbon paper and observe that the ball makes a small mark on the
blank paper.
3.
Measure and record the vertical distance y and the horizontal distance x.
4.
Reduce the value of y and repeat the steps above to obtain eight (8) sets of
values of x and y.
y
5.
Tabulate: y, x, and .
x
6.
Plot a graph of y/x against x.
7.
Determine the gradient and y- intercept of the graph.
Use your answer from  to determine values of k and u.
8.

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FHSC1014 Mechanics
Trimester 1

Practical 4
_____________________________________________________________________
To find the force constant of a spring
Objectives:

To study the resolution of vector quantities.

Apparatus and Materials:
1.
Spring
2.
Plumb-line
3.
Protractor
4.
Slotted masses 200g with hanger
5.
6.
Retort stand
7.
Nail or pin
Setup:
1.
Set up the apparatus as shown in Figure 4.1 below.
2.
Adjust the spring, so that it stretches horizontally.
3.
The angle between the plumb-line and the section AB is .
4.
The mass of the load is m, its weight is mg.

m=200g

Figure 4.1

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Theory
Let:
g
m

x
k
l
lo

= 9.80 ms-2
= mass of the load
= angle between the plumb-line and the section AB
= extension of the spring
= force constant of the spring
= stretched length of the spring
= unstretched length of the spring

When the system is in equilibrium, the forces acting at the point B are in equilibrium
Vertically:
mg = T cos . (1)
Horizontally:
kx = T sin ... (2)
Therefore:
kx = mg tan
x=

mg tan
k

A graph of x against tan will yield a straight line.

The gradient is equal to

mg
.
k

Procedure:
1.
Measure the unstretched length, lo of the spring before setting up the apparatus.
2.
Adjust the spring, so that it stretches horizontally.
3.
Measure the angle between the plumb-line and the section AB.
4.
Measure the new length, l of the spring.
5.
Calculate the extension, x of the spring. [where x = l lo]
6.
Pull the spring side way to vary the length l to obtain six (6) sets of values of
and x. {Note: before taking the value of the angle , make sure that the spring
is horizontal.}
7.
Tabulate: x, , tan .
8.
Determine the gradient of the graph.
Determine the force constant, k of the spring.
9.

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FHSC1014 Mechanics
Trimester 1

Practical 5
_____________________________________________________________________
To determine the coefficient of static friction between two surfaces
Objectives:
To determine the relationship between the mass of load and the length of spring.
To determine the coefficient of static friction between two surface.
Part 1: The relationship between the mass of load and the length of spring
Apparatus and Materials:
1.
Retort stand
2.
Spring
3.
Slotted masses 200g with hanger
4.
Meter rule
Setup:

Figure 5.1
Procedure:
1.
Hook one end of the spring on the retort stand.
2.
Hang the hanger with a 20g slotted mass at the other end.
3.
Measure the length l1 of the spring, record the mass m1 of the load.
4.
Increase the mass m1, measure the corresponding length l1 of the spring.
5.
Tabulate l1 and m1.
6.
Plot a graph of l1 against m1.

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FHSC1014 Mechanics
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Part 2: The coefficient of friction between two surfaces

Apparatus and Materials:
1.
A smooth plank as inclined plane
2.
Retort stand
3.
Wooden blocks
4.
Electronic balance
5.
Spring
6.
Protractor
7.
Pendulum bob
8.
9.
Plasticine
Setup:

Figure: 5.2

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Trimester 1

Theory:
If the wooden block is being displaced down the inclined plane, the block will return
to its original position when released because the net force up the plane exceeds the
limiting friction down the plane. The downward displacement is being reduced
gradually until a stage where the block stays stationary when released. At this point,
the force up the plane equalized the limiting friction down the plane.
If T is the tension of the spring, F is the limiting friction, and is the
coefficient of static friction, then
T- mg sin = F
T- mg sin = mg cos
If T = mg, where m = mass equivalent to tension T, then
mg mg sin = mg cos
m = m( cos + sin )
Procedure:
1.
Weigh the mass of wooden block with a smooth surface. Record down the
mass.
2.
Adjust the retort stand, to adjust the angle of inclination of the plank, such that
the wooden block can slide down the plane freely.
3.
Measure and record the angle of inclination of the plank.
4.
Set up the apparatus as shown in Figure 5.2.
5.
Start with one wooden block attached to the lower end of the spring.
6.
Displace the block downward and released, so that the block will be pulled up
by the tension in the spring.
7.
Repeat step  with a smaller displacement until a stage that the wooden block
stays stationary upon released. Measure and record the length l2 of the spring.
8.
From the graph of l1 against m1 in Part 1, obtain the corresponding mass, m for
the length l2.
9.
The mass of the wooden block could be increased by adding another wooden
block on top of the first, weigh the new combined mass of the block. Repeat
steps  to .
10.
Tabulate: m, l2 and m.
11.
Plot a graph of m against m.
12.
Calculate the gradient of the graph of m against m.
13.
Hence, determine the coefficient of static friction, .

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FHSC1014 Mechanics
Trimester 1

Practical 6
_____________________________________________________________________
To verify the conservation of spring and gravitational potential energy
Objective:
To verify the law of conservation.
Apparatus and Materials:
1.
Spring
2.
plastic / rubber ball
3.
Spring holder
4.
Metre rule
Equipment:
1.
Electronic balance
Setup:
Metre ruler

h
Compress

Release

Figure 6.1

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Theory:
When spring is compress, the spring store potential energy:
PE spring =

1 2
kx
2

The total energy E of a simple mechanical system is the sum of the potential energy
PE and the kinetic energy KE. In the absence of friction the total energy E of the
system is a conserved quantity so that E = KE + PE. In the absence of friction, if the
KE and PE change, they must change so that their sum is equal to the total energy E.
In this experiment several simple mechanical systems will be examined for this
property.
As the spring been release, the potential energy of the spring is converted to kinetic
energy and after the ball reach the maximum high, the kinetic energy is equal to zero
and transform to Gravitational Potential Energy.

PE spring = KE + PE
at maximum height:
1 2
kx = 0 + mgh
2

Procedure:
1.
Measure the mass of the ball, m.
Compress the spring downward, record the vertical distance of spring as x and
2.
let it go.
3.
Measure the maximum height, h the ball can achieve.
4.
Repeat the step  and  to obtain eight (8) sets of data.
5.
Tabulate: x, h and x2.
6.
Plot a graph of x2 against h.
7.
Determine the gradient of the graph.
8.
Use your answer from  to determine values of spring constant, k.

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FHSC1014 Mechanics
Trimester 1

Practical 7
_____________________________________________________________________
To Design a Roller Coaster via PhET Energy Skate Park Simulation
Objectives:

To understand the conservation of energy in real-world applications

To design a roller coaster (via simulation) and observe the physics concepts
used in the design
Apparatus and Materials:

Online Simulation Lab ROLLER COASTER PHYSICS

Purpose: The purpose of this simulation lab is to strengthen your understanding of
energy conservation in real-world applications. You will use a skateboarder and his
park to represent the roller coaster and its track. You will observe many other physics
concepts at work as well.
Note: This exercise is authored by Scott McCurdy. The copy is available at:
Pre-Lab Inquiry
What Do You Think?
You are asked to design a new roller coaster. It is totally up to you to determine what
the riders will experience. The only rule is that the coaster obeys the laws of physics.
Take a minute and brainstorm about a design you would like.
1. Name three adjectives that will describe your roller coaster.

2. Describe three features your roller coaster will have that will attract riders.

3. Name three variables that will affect the type of experience a rider will have.
EXPLAIN.

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4. Name three concepts of physics that the roller coaster must obey in order to be
successful. EXPLAIN.

5. Draw a side-view sketch of your roller coaster design below.

Concept Review
Write out an explanation for each question below.
6. Define potential and kinetic energy.

7. Describe when potential and kinetic energy are at their highest on a roller
coaster.

9. How does friction affect a roller coaster?

10. What is responsible for the apparent change in weight that riders experience on
coasters?

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Trimester 1

Internet Lab Activity

Open up the University of Colorado, PhET Energy Skate Park simulation:
1. Go to http://phet.colorado.edu/
2. Click Play with Sims>
3. Click the Energy Skate Park icon
4. Click Run Now!
5. Spend ONE MINUTE to explore the simulation and familiarize yourself with
the controls.
6. Click the Reset button in the top-right corner. Begin the exploration below.
Exploration Questions
Use the simulation to answer the questions below.
1. Does the skater hit the same height on the opposite sides of the track?
(Checkmark the Show Grid button to help you determine this!)
a. What must be true about the system for this to be possible?
b. Click the Track Friction >> button to adjust the friction settings.
What do you observe about the skater as you adjust the setting?

2. Now, turn on the energy Pie Chart and Bar Graph. (You may need to move

things around a little to see everything.)

a. On the visual aids, what color represents potential energy and which is
kinetic energy?

b. When does the skater have the highest amount of kinetic energy?
Potential energy?

c. When does the skater have the lowest amount of kinetic energy?
Potential energy?

d. Describe how the bar graph changes as the skater moves along the
track.

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e. Explain which visual aid (pie chart or bar graph) helps you understand
conservation of energy better, and why.

f. Keep your preferred visual aid open for the remainder of the
investigation.
Build Your Roller Coaster
Use the simulation to build and test your roller coaster design from the Pre-Lab
Inquiry.
1. If you made any changes during the Exploration Questions, click Reset
again.
2. Right-click the track and select Roller Coaster Mode. This keeps the skater
attached.
3. Notice that you can zoom out to give yourself a wider view. You may want to
do this as you build your coaster.
4. Drag in new pieces of track and manipulate the curves until you closely match
5. Drag and drop the rider to the location of the beginning and observe. DO NOT
MAKE CHANGES YET.
a. The ride probably was not successful on the first attempt. If not, what
physics concept(s) was violated?

b. Identify several adjustments you need to make.

6. After making the initial adjustments, try the ride again. Continue making
adjustments until the ride becomes successful (rider makes it from one end to
the other completely does not have to make it back through).
7. Raise your hand and show the teacher your successful design.
8. Draw a side-view sketch of your successful design below.

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9. Label the points of acceleration on your sketch.

a. Down arrow = slowing down
b. Up arrow = speeding up
c. Circle arrow = changing direction
10. Click the Track Friction >> button and adjust the setting.
11. Run the rider through your track again and observe the changes.
a. Did the rider make it to the end?
b. What do you notice differently about the pie chart and/or bar graph?

12. Describe the changes you need to make to your design, as a result of the
presence of friction.

13. Make the necessary adjustments until you achieve a successful ride with
friction.
14. Raise your hand and show the teacher your friction-savvy coaster.
15. Draw a side-view sketch of your friction-savvy coaster below.

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Post-Lab Questions:
1. List and explain the differences between each of your sketches.

2. At the top of a hill on the ride, most of the energy is _______________ and at
the bottom of the hill, most of the energy is converted into
_________________.
3. What are the equations for potential and kinetic energy?

4. If you were an engineer of an actual roller coaster, what information would

you need to know in order to ensure that your coaster would be safe?

5. Would it be possible to predict the speeds that a coaster will reach before its
ever placed on the track? How?

6. The most thrilling roller coasters usually contain vertical loops. What keeps
the riders in their seats when they go upside-down?

7. Consider going around a horizontal turn to the right. If the coaster suddenly
slipped off the track, what path would it follow? Draw a top-view sketch
below.

8. You should have drawn the coaster following a straight line after it slipped off
the track. Since that is the path it would take without the track, there must be
an unbalanced force causing it to accelerate (turn) around the bend. What
direction is that force pointing? Draw a top-view sketch of the force vectors
below.

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Trimester 1

Practical 8
_____________________________________________________________________
To determine the moment of inertia of a flywheel
Objective:

To study the moment inertia of a flywheel.

Apparatus and Materials:
1.
Flywheel
2.
Digital stop watch
3.
Slotted masses with hanger
4.
Meter rule
5.
G clamp
6.
7.
A soft board to absorb the impact when the slotted masses hit the ground
8.
Vernier caliper
Setup:
1.
Clamp the flywheel to the side of the bench.
2.
One end of the thread is fixed to the flywheel. The other end is tied to the mass
hanger.
3.
Roll the thread round the axle of the flywheel.
4.
The distance between the base of the hanger and the floor is, h.
5.
When you release the masses, the masses will accelerate downward, and
flywheel will have an angular acceleration.

Figure 8.1

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Theory:
Let:
T
m
a

g
R
I
h
t

=
=
=
=
=
=
=
=
=
=

tension in the string

mass of the load
acceleration of the load
angular acceleration of the flywheel
gravitational acceleration = 9.81 ms-2
radius of the axle
moment of inertia of the flywheel
initial distance between load and floor
time taken for the load to touch the floor
friction torque on the flywheel

Acceleration of load: a =

2h
t

............... (1)

a
(2)
R
For the load: mg T = ma... (3)
T = m(g - a)... (4)

Using equation (1) to find the value of a.

Using equation (2) and the calculated value of a to find the value of .
Using equation (4) and the calculated value of a to find the value of T.
For the wheel: TR = I ... (5)

R
I

= T

Graph of against T is a straight line, the gradient is s and s =

Moment of inertia of the flywheel is: I =

R
.
I

R
.
s

Procedure:
1.
Measure the initial height of the load. This height is fixed.
Put mass onto the hanger.
2.
3.
Release the load, and start the stop-watch simultaneously.
4.
Take the time for the load to touch the floor.
5.
Vary the mass of the load, m. Repeat the above steps, and obtain a total of
eight (8) sets of values of m and t.
6.
Tabulate: m, t, a, and T.
7.
Plot a graph of against T.
8.
From the graph, determine the moment of inertia of the flywheel.

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Trimester 1

Practical 9
_____________________________________________________________________
To investigate the effect of buoyancy via PhET Buoyancy simulation
Objectives:

To study the effect of buoyancy to a submerged object in liquid.

Apparatus and Materials:
Buoyancy and Density Activity
Directions: Go to the following website to use an interactive simulation to work with
buoyancy and density.
Procedure:
Getting Familiar
1. On the Intro screen, mess with the apparatus, changing the blocks, observing
what happens when the mass, volume and densities are held constant.
2. Check and uncheck the boxes under Show Forces to see where they act.
Intro: Give a brief description of what the relationship is between mass, volume and
density of each object and how it affects whether the object will sink or float.

Lab Setup
1. Click over to the Buoyancy Playground and begin the lab.
2. There are 5 different fluids to choose from in the lab and five different types of
materials. (Styrofoam, wood, ice, brick and aluminum)
3. Use the table supplied to organize your work.
Lab Procedure: Part 1
1. In each of the scenarios below, determine first, by predicting, whether the
object will sink or float. Use a mass of 2.5 kg.
2. Test each object once you have predicted and record the results.

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Part 1: Write an S for sink or an F for float. Predictions first!!

Air
Gasoline
Olive Oil
Water
Honey
Pred. Act. Pred. Act. Pred. Act. Pred. Act. Pred. Act.
Styrofoam
Wood
Ice
Brick
Aluminum
Lab Procedure: Part 2
1. Determine the volume of the fluid when an object is placed in that fluid.
2. Use a mass of 2.5 kg.
3. Record all values for different sets of combinations in the table below.
Air

Gasoline

Olive Oil

Water

Honey

Styrofoam
Wood
Ice
Brick
Aluminum
Lab Procedure: Part 3
1. In this part of the lab, determine the amount of buoyant force that is acting on
each block of mass 2.5 kg.
2. Determine how you will find the amount of buoyant force or buoyancy.
Perhaps try using the two scales given in the lab.
3. Record these values in the table below.
Air

Gasoline

Olive Oil

Water

Honey

Styrofoam
Wood
Ice
Brick
Aluminum

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Conclusions:
1. In the part 1 of the lab, what happened when the ice was placed in olive oil?

2. In part 2 of the lab, which of the objects had the greatest density?

3. From part 3, what is the relationship between the buoyant force and the weight
of an object when the object:
a. Sinks
b. Floats
4. How is it possible to have two objects of the same mass where one object sinks
and the other object floats? Use your observations from the Intro part of the
lab to answer this question.
Directions:
Intro Tab:
1. How can you use a block and the other tools on the Intro tab to determine the
density of the Oil?

2. Determine what forces act on an object when the object is placed in a fluid.
How are the forces similar and different when the object sinks, floats
immersed in the fluid, and when it is only partially submerged.

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3. Give specific examples that you could use to explain what buoyancy is and
how an objects weight can appear to change when in a fluid. Make sure to
include situations where the object sinks, floats immersed in the fluid, and
when it is only partially submerged.

Playground Tab:
4. Explain how you can use the information about the block and the fluid to
determine if the block will sinks, floats immersed in the fluid, and when it is
only partially submerged.

5. How can you determine the apparent mass of an object if you know the density
of the object and the density of the fluid?

6. Challenge: Explain how an object that is more dense than water can be kept
afloat by placing it on an object that is less dense than water

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