Physics 123 - Minilab 8
Names: _____________________________
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WORK-ENERGY THEOREM
Goal
Compare the change in kinetic energy and the change in potential energy of a system of two
masses with the work done by gravity on the system.
Introduction
The work-energy theorem says that the net work done on a system by external forces equals
the change in kinetic energy of the system.
In this lab you will measure the change in velocity
of two weights connected together by a pulley (an “Atwood machine”) as the heavier weight
falls under the force of gravity and pulls up the lighter one.
You will calculate the change in
kinetic energy of the two weights and compare it with the work done on the two weights by the
force of gravity. Neglecting friction, the net work done on the system of two weights should
equal the change in their total kinetic energy. Remember that when force and displacement
are in opposite directions, the work done by the force on the displaced object is negative.

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