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More physics…

November 3, 2011

Once again I am behind on blogging about what I have been doing in my physics class for the past couple of weeks so I thought I would try and quickly talk about what happened. For the past two week I have been working on the same project. To start off, Steven and I both researched how to determine the height of an object dropped if you only know the time it took to reach the ground and gravitational acceleration. We found a helpful equation ½(g)t² which allowed us to do exactly this. We wanted to find the height of a potato being launched from the potato accelerator so we got some data from our potato accelerator friends and were able to use it for the equation. They gave us the total time it took for a potato to hit the ground from launch (4.34 sec.) so we just divided that number by two in order to get the time it took from the peak of the launch to impact (2.17 sec.). We then took that number and pluged it into the equation with the acceleation due to gravity (9.81 m/s²) and were able to come up with 23.097 meters for the height of the potato. After we did all this good stuff we decided to try to theoretically calculate the height of the peak of the launch by trigonometry. In order to do this we created an inclinometer by attaching an eyepiece (cardboard tube) to a protractor and attaching a string with a bolt tied to it so we could measure the angle. The main purpose of the inclinometer was to allow us to measure the angle of elevation from Steven’s eye to the peak of the potato in the launch. After we completed the creation of our inclinometer we set off outside  and were able to record distance, total time, and initial angle of launch from three trials. This current week we used trigonometry to find the height of the peak and also used the ½(g)t²  equation to find the same thing and compared the numbers. I will report this data in another post soon.

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