Free Fall Essay

1060 Words Feb 7th, 2011 5 Pages
Sample Formal Laboratory Report for Physics on the Picket Fence Lab (CP) without the parachute

Purpose: The purpose of this experiment is to verify the acceleration due to gravity using the picket fence with a photogate, LabPro and LoggerPro software by measuring it with a precision of 0.5% or better.

Theory: All objects, regardless of mass, fall with the same acceleration due to gravity assuming that there is no air resistance. Objects thrown upward or downward and those released from rest are falling freely once they are released. Any freely falling object experiences acceleration directed downward, regardless of the direction of its motion at any instant. The symbol “g” is used for this special acceleration at the Earth’s
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As the percent difference is so low, it shows that the experimental value is very close to the accepted value of acceleration due to gravity. Since the picket fence fell through a short distance close to sea level, the acceleration due to gravity remained constant throughout the entire fall through the photogate. Each equidistant black line on the picket fence passed through the gate in shorter and short time increments because it was accelerating, resulting in the graphs used to collect the data.
Air resistance did have an effect on the falling fence but it was so minute, it did not have a significant effect on the data. If air resistance was large enough to affect the data, the acceleration due to gravity would be less than 9.8 m/sec2. Performing this experiment in a vacuum would eliminate the error due to air resistance, but both the experiment results and limitations of the lab equipment show it is an unnecessary improvement. Other things that could cause a change in experimental value of acceleration

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