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Conservation of Energy, Lab Report Example

Pages: 2

Words: 553

Lab Report

Introduction

In this lab, we were investigating the conservation of momentum by examining the relations between potential energy stored in a compressed spring, potential energy due to gravity, and kinetic energy of motion.

Equipment

  • Air track with blower
  • 5 cm angle aluminum
  • Digital timer
  • Air track glider
  • cm angle aluminum
  • 30-cm ruler
  • Track-mounted springs
  • 1-cm support block
  • 2-meter stick

Procedure

Section A

  1. We leveled the air track by placing the glider around the center of the air track and releasing it upon rest. We then moved the glider so that it just touched the spring and proceeded to record the reading on the meter scale.
  2. Using the tow angular pieces, the glider was moved to a top position about 1 cm beyond the “zero compression” reading and recorded the new glider position.
  3. We then released the glider and started the timer simultaneously.
  4. When the glider reached the other end of the track, the clock was stopped and the time recorded.
  5. The distance travelled by the glider was recorded.
  6. These steps were repeated three times to generate a table of results
  7. We compressed the spring by moving the glider to a new stop position, 2 cm beyond. We recordedthen repeated the previous steps three times to generate a results table.

Section B

We inclined the track by turning the leveling knob and recorded the number of turns taken.

  1. We compressed the spring moving the glider beyond.
  2. We released the glider and recorded its position upon coming to a rest
  3. We repeated these steps three time to produce a table of results.
  4. We moved the glider 2 cm beyondand repeated the previous steps. We then recorded the results.

Discussion

This experiment entailed a number of error stemming from a number of sources. One of the plausible sources of error would be equipment employed in the experiment. There is a possibility that the scale may not have been accurate. There is a small, 5% error, in all these calculations as there is a small percentage of the kinetic energy that is converted into heat. This error impacts directly on the figures of momentum obtained. This may have a considerable implication on the value of the final momentum calculated as well as the overall percentage error. Track dynamics are also a possible source of error. The track may not be equally balanced throughout the device. This may potentially cause differences in momentum at different points on the track, distorting the lab results. A final source fo error would be related to human factors. The student taking the readings may make a wrong reading affecting results and analysis of velocity as well as momentum.

The setup adopted in this experiment was developed to mimic a closed system. However, this is not a true or perfect closed system. A closed system characteristically does not have any external force working on it. This system depicts aspects of the force of friction acting on the glider. Through friction, the cart is seen to slow down.

Conclusion

In this lab, we managed to verify the law off conservation of momentum. The law of conservation of energy states that in any given system of motion, energy remains the same at any given point in time. This is because the total energy is equal to the sum of kinetic energy and potential energy. It was found that when the compression length was doubled, the velocity was also doubled by about half its original value. However, when the travel distance was doubled, velocity reduce by half.

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