Assignment 3:  Newton’s Laws
Instructor’s Overview
Newton’s laws of motion are a central
component of our understanding of physics. 
As we discussed in Module 5, Newton’s laws can be summarized as follows:

Inertia – An object tends to resist changes in
its motion.
Relationship between the mass of an object, the
net applied force, and the resulting acceleration – F = m ´ a.
Action-reaction pairs – Forces come in pairs.

In this lab, you will perform experiments
to explore each of the laws of motion.

This activity is based on Lab 5 of the
eScience Lab kit.  Although you should
read all of the content in Lab 5, we will be performing a targeted subset of
the eScience experiments.
Our lab consists of three main
components.  These components are
described in detail in the eScience manual (pages 55-61).  Here is a quick overview:

In the first part of the lab, you will use a bowl
full of water to understand the concept of inertia.  (eScience Experiment 1)
In the second part of the lab, you will recreate
a classic physics experiment, the Atwood Machine.  This system consists of a pulley holding
a string with two unequal masses. 
Experimenting with an Atwood Machine is an excellent way to
understand Newton’s second law of motion. 
(eScience Experiment 2, Procedure 1)
In the final part of the lab you will create a
balloon-powered vehicle to elucidate Newton’s third law of motion.  (eScience Experiment 4)

Note: Record all of your data in the tables that are provided in this document.
Take detailed
notes as you perform the experiment and fill out the sections below.  This document serves as your lab report.  Please include detailed descriptions of your
experimental methods and observations.

Experiment Tips: 

First Law – Water in a Bowl
recommend that you perform this experiment outdoors as there most likely will
be some spillage of water.
Second Law – The Atwood Machine
to determining the mass of the washers, make sure to zero your spring
scale.  To zero your spring scale, hold
it vertically with no mass attach and turn the top screw until the scale reads
0 grams.  Refer to the following picture:

Turn this
screw to zero the spring scale.


[img width=”189″ height=”255″ src=”file:///C:/Users/srarin/AppData/Local/Temp/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image004.jpg” alt=”Description: SpringScale” v_shapes=”Picture_x0020_4″>
may want to use the hooks on the pulley to hang your Atwood machine.  I placed mine on a hanger:
[img width=”301″ height=”226″ src=”file:///C:/Users/srarin/AppData/Local/Temp/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image006.jpg” alt=”Description: Atwood” v_shapes=”Picture_x0020_3″>
Third Law – Balloon-Powered Vehicle
is a picture of my balloon-powered vehicle:
[img width=”287″ height=”211″ src=”file:///C:/Users/srarin/AppData/Local/Temp/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image008.jpg” alt=”Description: Balloon” v_shapes=”Picture_x0020_2″>
add mass, I taped washers to the straw.

Material and Methods

Data table for the Atwood Machine
experiment (Experiment 2, Procedure 1):

Height = __ meters
Mass of 15
washers = __
Mass of 1 washer
= __ grams
M1 = __ grams (lighter mass)
M2 = __ grams (heavier mass)

Trial Number

Fall time (sec)

Calculated acceleration (m/s2)












Standard Deviation

Analysis and Discussion

Water Bowl

Atwood Machine

Note: Make sure to show your calculation
for the acceleration.

Balloon-Powered Vehicle

Based on your experimental results,
please answer the following questions:

Water Bowl
Explain how your observations of the water demonstrate
Newton’s law of inertia.

Draw a free body diagram of your containers of water
from the situation in Step 3d (After walking in a straight line at constant
speed, stop abruptly). In your free body diagram, draw arrows for the force of
gravity, the normal force (your hand pushing up on the container), and the
stopping force (your hand decelerating the container as you stop.) What is the
direction of the water’s acceleration?

Describe two instances where you feel inertial forces
in a car.

Atwood Machine

Draw a FBD for M1 and M2 in your Atwood machine.  Draw force arrows for the force due to gravity
acting on both masses and the force of tension

[img width=”267″ height=”356″ src=”file:///C:/Users/srarin/AppData/Local/Temp/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image009.jpg” alt=”Description: Atwood_Machine” v_shapes=”Picture_x0020_1″>

Use Newton’s Second Law to write an equation for each mass
of the Atwood machine.  Solve these two
equations for the acceleration of the system.
Using the
masses M1 and M2, use the above expression to calculate the acceleration of the
system.  How does this value compare to
your experimentally measured acceleration? 
What factors may cause discrepancies between the two values?

Balloon-Powered Vehicle

Explain what caused the balloon to move in terms of
Newton’s Third Law.

What is the force pair in this experiment? Draw a free
body diagram to represent the (unbalanced) forces on the balloon/straw
Add some mass to the system by taping some metal
washers to the guide straw and repeat the experiment. How does this change the
motion of the assembly? How does this change the free body diagram?

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