Advanced PlacementHigh School / Physics

Exploring a Rotating System

Students construct an experimental system composed of a horizontal meter stick mounted at its center on a pivot that is rotating from the torque produced by the tension in a thread attached to a falling mass. The angular velocity is measured using a photogate mounted to a pulley. They vary the falling mass and calculate the applied torque. They discover that the slope of the torque versus angular acceleration graph is the rotational inertia of the meter stick.

Students construct an experimental system composed of a horizontal meter stick mounted at its center on a pivot that is rotating from the torque produced by the tension in a thread attached to a falling mass. The angular velocity is measured using a photogate mounted to a pulley. Students find the angular acceleration from the slope of the angular velocity versus time graph. They vary the falling mass and calculate the applied torque. They discover that the slope of the torque versus angular acceleration graph is the rotational inertia of the meter stick. They use this relationship, Newton's Second Law for rotation, to predict the acceleration and velocity of the falling mass for a new situation.

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Exploring_Rotating_System_S.docx 279.52 KB
Exploring_Rotating_System_S.pdf 489.86 KB

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Featured Equipment

Meter Stick Torque Mass Hanger Set

Meter Stick Torque Mass Hanger Set

Replacement set of three mass hangers and one meter stick clamp for doing meter stick torque.

Pivot

Pivot

This Pivot is used as a fulcrum in meter stick torque and as a rotation device for rotational inertia experiments.

Meter Stick Torque Set

Meter Stick Torque Set

For torque experiments with a meter stick balance

Aluminum Meter Sticks (6-pack)

These hollow aluminum meter sticks are rigid and straight.

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