Ballistic Pendulum - ME-6830


The Ballistic Pendulum includes everything shown here.


Applying the laws of Conservation of Energy and Conservation of Momentum to calculate the velocity of a projectile with no more than simple mass and distance measurements has made this a classic physics experiment.

This version includes the PASCO Projectile Launcher (ME-6800).  It is also available without the launcher as the Ballistic Pendulum (No Launcher) ME-6831 if you already have PASCO Projectile Launchers or want to purchase them separately.

Typical Experiments:

With Teacher's Guide and Sample Data.

  • Ballistic Pendulum -- Approximate Method
  • Ballistic Pendulum -- Exact Method
  • Demo: Elastic/Inelastic Collisions


  • Repeatable: The three velocity settings on the Projectile Launcher produce consistent velocities.
  • Accuracy: The 0-80o angle measurement scale resolves to 1/2o, leading to experimental results within 2.5% of predicted values.
  • Removable Pendulum: Remove the pendulum to determine its mass and center of mass. It can swing freely so students can determine its rotational inertia. Mount the pendulum backwards so the ball bounces away for elastic collision experiments.
  • Vary Ball and Pendulum Mass: Two 50 g masses can be added to the pendulum, and two steel and two plastic balls are included.
  • Projectile Launcher: Mount the Projectile Launcher on the other side of the base, and students have access to all the accessories that come with the Projectile Launcher (ME-6800).
  • Unique Angle Measurement: The PASCO Ballistic Pendulum pushes a low friction, low mass pointer to the highest point. It remains there, permitting an accurate measurement.
  • Add Masses: Two 50 g masses can be added to the pendulum, and two steel and two plastic balls are included.


  • Ballistic Pendulum and Base
  • Projectile Launcher (Short Range)
  • 2.5 cm Plastic Balls (2)
  • 2.5 cm Steel Balls (2)
  • Masses (2)
  • 2-D Collision Accessory
  • Nylon Washers (2)
  • Thumbscrews (2)
  • Safety Glasses (2 pairs)
  • Operations and Experiment Manual
  • How It Works

    • A projectile is fired into a pendulum, causing it to rise.
    • Using the projectile mass, the pendulum mass and the rise in pendulum height, students can calculate the gravitational potential energy of the system.
    • Since the potential energy is equal to the pendulum's kinetic energy at the lowest point, students can calculate the speed of the pendulum at impact.
    • Applying the Law of Conservation of Momentum, the projectile's speed is easily calculated.

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