Conservation of Energy
Introduction/Theory
The purpose of this experiment is to examine the theory of conservation of energy, which
states that the total energy of a system is equal to the sum of the kinetic and potential
energies at any given time. Kinetic energy is calculated by taking 1/2mv
2
, which is equal
to the total energy
mgh
when dropping an object through a photogate sensor, allowing us
to calculate its velocity by taking the square root of
2gh,
where
h
is the height above the
photogate sensor from where the object is released.
Free Fall
The displacement of an object on the horizontal x-axis has no effect when calculating the
potential energy of an object, because in the absence of kinetic energy, the only force
acting on the object is gravity. Therefore changing the magnitude of the height only alters
the potential energy of an object.
Diameter of tube – 2.95 cm
Table of velocities
Observed
Velocities
H=10cm
H=20cm
H=30cm
1.355
1.923
2.492
1.368
1.929
2.516
1.357
1.914
2.507
1.347
1.928
2.490
1.350
1.933
2.489
Theoretical v
1.359
1.928
2.50
Standard Dev.
.01717
.00211
.000639
Examining our data will show that our results are very close to the calculated velocities
(which were calculated using
v=sqrt(2mh)
). Friction is not a factor in this experiment,
except for the negligible amount due to air resistance. When dropping a paper tube from

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