Frictionless_track_NEW - Nazarbayev University UCL Physics...

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Nazarbayev University UCL Physics Laboratory Studying Laws of Motion on a Frictionless Air Track Introduction An air track is a device used to study dynamic motion without frictional forces. A system without friction is ideal to observe the law of conservation of momentum and energy. In reality, friction is always present, leading to the conversion of potential and kinetic energy into heat and sound. In this lab, the use of an air track allows the observation and study of Newton’s laws of motion as well as other physics concepts. Objectives There are five main objectives: 1. observation of motion of an object in a frictionless system; 2. determination of ‘g’; 3. Studying the relation between work and energy; 4. Studying an oscillation system; and 5. Investigation the effect of combining springs in an oscillating system. Theory The air track system consists of the following main components: air track platform, air pump, sensor and two gliders. The air track platform is a long straight beam punctuated by two rows of small holes on either side. When air is pumped into the track, it emerges out of these holes freely. When a glider is placed on the track, it sits on a cushion of air between the track surface and the glider’s underside. This pressure build-up causes the glider to float. The motion of the glider on the track is almost ideal as the friction is very small. Newton’s first law states that an objectmaintains its state of rest or moves with a constant velocity unless acted upon unbalanced forces. In an ideal system, when the net force acting on a body is zero, the body keeps its linear straight motion at constant velocity. Such motion is difficult to achieve on Earth but can be observed on surfaces such as ice or an air track. To analyse a system in motion as shown below we can use Newton’s second law. Figure : Mass-pulley system Newton’s second law says that the acceleration of an object as produced by a net force is directly proportional to the magnitude of the net force, in the same direction as the net force, and inversely proportional to the mass of the object. Mathematically,
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where the parameters are defined as usual. From this law, an expression relating work done on an object to the force acting on it can be derived. Let the initial and the final velocities of the object bev i and v f and the distance moved be s. Then, becomes Multiplying each term by ½ m, we have: Alternatively written, where the two KEs are final and initial kinetic energy respectively and W is the work done on the object. In our case the only force that does work on the object is gravitational force mg. Thus, the work equals the difference between the initial and final gravitational potential energies: The equations for potential and kinetic energy are well-known: .
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Frictionless_track_NEW - Nazarbayev University UCL Physics...

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