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Course: PHY 110, Fall 2007
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Trask Jeff 9/7/2007 Section A PHY 110 Lab 1: Graphing and the Measurement of Mass Purpose: The purpose of this lab is to determine the mass of an object by measuring the mass in a way that is not dependent upon weight, then to illustrate the result graphically. Abstract: In order to measure mass, the principle of inertia (objects in motion tend to stay in motion, objects at rest tend to stay at rest) was used to...

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Trask Jeff 9/7/2007 Section A PHY 110 Lab 1: Graphing and the Measurement of Mass Purpose: The purpose of this lab is to determine the mass of an object by measuring the mass in a way that is not dependent upon weight, then to illustrate the result graphically. Abstract: In order to measure mass, the principle of inertia (objects in motion tend to stay in motion, objects at rest tend to stay at rest) was used to graph the physical property of mass (the resistance of a given body to said inertia). This was accomplished by the use of an inertia balance, into which weights of different masses are placed, then the balance is acted upon by a force (the push of a hand) that sets the balance into a series of oscillation, the period of which (the amount of time it takes the balance to complete one horizontal rotation) was recorded to create a graph from which the mass of an unknown object could be determined. The object was then weighed using a triple-beam balance to determine the graph's accuracy. Analysis: After plotting the data a points, line of best fit can be plotted on the graph. The line of best fit allows a way to place the period of oscillation against the mass for the unknown object, thereby allowing the mass of the unknown object to be experimentally determined. The mass we experimentally determined was, however, very different from what was measured by the triple-beam balance (the theoretical mass). Discussion: There are several reasons that the deviation between the experimental and theoretical masses of the object could be so large, but the most likely seems to be a simple counting error. The inertia balance had very small oscillations, and the faster it moved, the more likely it was that we missed counting an oscillation, which would lead us to have a longer period, or instead counted an extra oscillation between others, which would lead to a shorter period. A new method of counting the oscillations maybe possible, but if you have the inertia balance hit a switch or something, inertia will be transferred, so that will not work.
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