In this experiment designed for use with PASCO Capstone software, students use a projectile launcher to better understand the kinematics and dynamics of projectile motion. Since measurements for these experiments involve single point measurements of time or velocity, the Smart Timer is the ideal timing instrument.
Muzzle Velocity vs. Time of Flight:
Students fire the projectile at three different velocities from the same height. The Photogate and Time of Flight Accessory are used to measure the time of flight at each muzzle velocity. Students are surprised to find that time of flight is not related to muzzle velocity at 0° launch angle.
Angle vs. Horizontal Range:
The angle of launch is varied and the horizontal range measured for each angle. Students produce a graph of angle vs. horizontal range. The angle of maximum range can then be found. This experiment is conducted for two cases:
- Projectile is fired from a higher vertical position than its landing position
- Projectile is fired from the same vertical position as its landing position
Students are also asked to use the kinematics equations to predict the horizontal range given a launch angle and muzzle velocity. Carbon paper and a bulls-eye can then be used to test their hypothesis.
PASCO projectile launchers are designed for repeatable and accurate launches. In addition, photogates and other accessories are designed to work seamlessly with our projectile launchers. These features allow student predictions and calculations from the kinematics equations to be empirically verified.