Newton's Second Law

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Newton’s Second Law and the Work-Kinetic Energy Theorem October 13, 2010 Abstract This experiment utilizes an air track first as an inclined plane with the slider accelerating due to gravity and second as a level surface with the slider accelerating due to the pull of an attached free-falling object of known mass. In both cases, the Work performed is calculated based on formulas for mechanical work and for kinetic energy. The two results are compared. The first part yielded an average acceleration of 0.715 m/s2 (a 1.58% error) and the average result for the Work performed was 0.0204 N*m with only a 0.9% difference. The second part suffered critical errors due to improper data and the results are not significant or useful. Newton’s Second Law and the Work-Kinetic Energy Theorem Description of Experiment The purposes of this experiment are to measure the acceleration of a glider on an air track acted on by an unbalance force and compare this to the value predicted by Newton’s second law and to compare the amount of work performed on the glider to its change in kinetic energy. The theory behind the experiment is based on Newton’s second law that states an accelerating (a) object experiences a net force (F) that is directly proportional to its mass (m). F = m * a If that force causes an object’s displacement (d), then by definition a certain amount of work (W) has been performed. For motion in one dimension on an inclined plane the expressions reduces with Θ being the angle of the incline. W = F * d W = F * cos Θ * d Additionally, the energy (K) associated with an object’s velocity (v) is defined as: K = ½ m * v2 By starting with Newton’s second law and using the definitions of work and kinetic energy it can be shown that the total work done on an object will equal the change in kinetic energy of that object. W = ΔK Utilizing

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