Newton's Second Law Experiment

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This Java applet simulates an air track glider setup, as it is used for experiments on constant acceleration motion. A gravitational acceleration of  9.81 m/s2 was presupposed.

The mass of the wagon, the value of the hanging mass and the coefficient of friction (within certain limits) can be changed.

For one measurement you have to adjust the measuring distance (from the initial position to the light barrier LS, accuracy 5 mm) with pressed mouse button and to read the corresponding time (digital display, accuracy 1 ms). During the movement a red point in the t-s-diagram (time-way-diagram) indicates the present time and the covered distance. As soon as the measurement of time is finished, the pair of measured values is marked on the diagram. After a mouse click on the "Record Data" button the data will be put down on the list. A series of measurements with the same parameters cannot contain more than 10 measurements.

Underlying formulas:

Application of Newton's second law:


a ... acceleration
m ... hanging mass
g ... gravitational acceleration
m ... coefficient of friction
M ... mass of the car

Movement with constant acceleration and initial speed 0:


s ... distance
a ... acceleration
t ... time

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Physics Applets

© Walter Fendt, December 23, 1997
Last modification: January 16, 1999

This applet is part of the Contemporary College Physics Simulation Library.

Thanks to professor Taha Mzoughi (Mississippi State University) for the translation of the applet!

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