In this experiment designed for use with PASCO Capstone software, PASCO’s Rotary Motion Sensor is the heart of this modern approach to a classic physics experiment. The Mini Launcher fires a steel ball into the foam catcher of the Ballistic Pendulum Accessory mounted on the Rotary Motion Sensor. The Rotary Motion Sensor measures the angular displacement of the pendulum and it is plotted in real-time in PASCO Capstone.
There is no need to catch the pendulum at its maximum height because the angle is continuously measured. Using analysis tools in PASCO Capstone, students can find the maximum angle.
Using Conservation of Momentum and Conservation of Energy, students can determine the initial speed of the ball as it leaves the projectile launcher. The initial speed of the ball is confirm by using two photogates to time the flight of the ball for a short distance.