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Name: _______________________________

Vector Addition Lab


Overview:
In this activity, you will use both the head-to-tail method and the
analytical method of vector addition in order to determine the resultant
displacement of a plane trip, which have three individual "legs." You will
then use these skills to resolve force vectors that are in equilibrium on a
Force Table apparatus.

Materials:
ruler, protractor, pencil, calculator, copy of a New Zealand map

Part 1:Head-to-Tail Method of Determining the Resultant:


On the attached map, use the indicated scale to
add the following three vectors (A, B, C) in a head-totail fashion. Include an arrowhead on each vector
and label them clearly as A, B and C. Draw the
resultant of A + B + C on the diagram and label it as
R1.
Begin in Auckland. All angles are measured clockwise
from north.

Scale on map: _____ cm = 250 km

350 km at 150
scale length = ____ cm

259 km at 224
scale length = ____ cm

641 km at 213
scale length = ____ cm

Length of resultant (x) = _____ cm (scale) = _____ km direction = _____


The resultant of A + B + C is _________________________ (include magnitude
and direction). The final destination appears to be in or at least close to
the city of _________________.

Name: _______________________________

Analytical Method of Determining the Resultant:


Now use a calculator, trigonometric functions, and principles of vector
resolution to determine the components of each vector; include both
magnitude and direction for each component. Show your work in each of
the cells of the first three rows of the data table. Finally, add all the
components to determine the horizontal and the vertical components of
the resultant of A + B + C.
Vector

Horizontal or E-W Component

Vertical or N-S Component

350 km at 150

259 km at 224

641 km at 213

Resultant

Now use the components of the resultant to determine the magnitude


and the direction of the resultant. Once you have determined the
resultant, make a measurement on the map to determine where this
displacement would place a traveler.
Length of resultant (x) = _____ km (actual) = _____ cm (scale) with the
direction = _____
According to the analytical method, the resultant of A + B + C is
____________________(include magnitude and direction).

Name: _______________________________
When this resultant displacement is measured on the provided map, the
final destination appears to be in or at least close to the city of
Compare the results of the two methods of vector addition and use a few
complete sentences to evaluate the effectiveness of the methods and
the accuracy of your measurements.

Name: _______________________________

Part2: Equilibrium of Forces Acting at a Point


An object is said to be in equilibrium when the vector
sum of all the forces acting on it is zero. In this
experiment we shall study the translational equilibrium
of a small ring acted on by several forces on an
apparatus known as a force table, see Fig. 1.
This apparatus enables one to cause the forces of
gravity acting on several masses (F = mg) to be
brought to bear on the small ring. These forces are
Fig. 1. A force table in equilibrium
adjusted until equilibrium of the ring is achieved. You
will then add the forces analytically by adding their components and
graphically by drawing the vectors and determining if they add to zero
using the rules for the addition of force vectors listed above.
Setup
1. Assemble the force table. Use three pulley clamps (two for the forces
that will be added and one for the force that balances the sum of the
other two forces).
2. Arrange the strings from the String Tie over the pulleys.
3. Hang the following masses over two of the super pulleys and clamp the
pulleys at the given angles.

Table 1.1:
Vector

Mass (kg)

Force = mg (N)

Angle ()

FA

0.050 (50g)

= 0.050 x 9.81= 0.490

FB

0.100 (100g)

FE

0.200 (200g)

g = 9.81 ms-2

120

Name: _______________________________
Procedure (Experimental Method)
4. By trial and error, find the angle for the third super pulley clamp and the
200g mass that must be suspended over the pulley so that its weight will
balance the forces exerted on the strings by the other two masses.
This third force will the be called the equilibriant (FE) because it
establishes equilibrium. The equilibriant is the negative of the
resultant.

Fig. 1.2

To test whether the system is in equilibrium, make sure that the ring is
not maving and centered on the central peg as in Fig. 1.2

5. Record the angle for the third pulley to put the system into
equilibrium into Table 1.1

Analysis
To theoretically determine what mass should be suspended over the third
pulley, and at what angle, calculate the magnitude and direction of the
resultant by the component method and the graphical method. The
equilibriant (FE) will have the same magnitude, but it will be opposite in
direction. In other words, the direction will be 180 from the direction of
the resultant.

Component Method
On a separate sheet of paper, add the vector components of Force A
and Force B to determine the magnitude of the equilibriant. Record the
components Rx and Ry in Table 1.2. Use trigonometry to find the direction
of the equilibriant (remember, the equilibriant is exactly opposite in
direction to the resultant.) Record the results in Table 1.2.
Graphical Method
On a separate sheet of paper, construct a tail-to-head diagram of the
vectors of Force A and Force B. Use a metric ruler and protractor to
measure the magnitude and direction of the resultant. Record the results
in Table 1.2. Remember to record the direction of the equilibriant as
opposite in direction to the resultant.

Name: _______________________________
Table 1.2:
Equilibriant (FE)
Method

Magnitude

Direction

Experimental
Component
Graphical
Rx = ______________ Ry = ______________

Question
How do the theoretical values for the magnitude and direction of the
equilibriant compare to the actual magnitude and direction?