Acceleration due to Gravity

In summary, the conversation is about a lab where the free fall acceleration was measured by dropping a ball and timing how long it took to reach the bottom. The equation y = 1/2g(t^2) was used to find the value of "g" by graphing y vs (t^2) and using the slope. The person then asks if it is possible to find the mass of the object and suggests using the formula F = m * g, but is unsure how it applies in this situation. They are also directed to read about Galileo's experiments in gravity.
  • #1

Homework Statement


Hi, I'm new here, and this may be a stupid question, but please bear with me. In my school, we had a lab where we measured the free fall acceleration. First we dropped a ball off a certain height and timed how long it took to reach the bottom. Then we used the equation:

y = v1t + 1/2a(t^2)

Note: v1 = 0 because we just dropped it, its initial velocity was 0. Also, the acceleration is "g". So the equation became:

y = 1/2g(t^2)

So we graphed y vs (t^2) and used the slope to find the value of "g".

My question is, using the information I told you, is it possible to find the mass of the object? If so, how?

I'm thanking you for your help in advance!

Homework Statement


Homework Equations


The Attempt at a Solution



What i thought of doing was somehow calculating the value of the force of gravity and then use the formula:

F = m * g

and then just solve for m, but i don't know how that is applicable here.
 
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  • #2
Welcome to PF.

You might want to read up on Galileo's experiments in gravity.
 
  • #3


Hi there,

Thank you for your question. It's great that you're curious and asking for help - that's an important part of being a scientist!

To answer your question, yes, it is possible to find the mass of the object using the information you provided. However, the method you mentioned (calculating the force of gravity and using F=ma) is not applicable in this case.

Instead, you can use the equation you mentioned, y = 1/2gt^2, to find the acceleration due to gravity (g). Once you have the value of g, you can use it in the equation F=mg to find the weight of the object. The weight is equal to the force of gravity acting on the object.

However, to find the mass of the object, you will also need to know the value of the gravitational constant (G) and the distance between the object and the center of the Earth. This is because the equation for the force of gravity is F=GmM/r^2, where m is the mass of the object, M is the mass of the Earth, and r is the distance between the object and the center of the Earth.

So, in summary, you can use the information you have to find the weight of the object, but to find the mass, you will need additional information. I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any further questions. Happy experimenting!
 

What is acceleration due to gravity?

Acceleration due to gravity is a physical phenomenon that describes the rate at which an object falls towards the Earth. It is typically denoted by the symbol "g" and has a constant value of 9.8 meters per second squared near the Earth's surface.

How is acceleration due to gravity calculated?

Acceleration due to gravity is calculated using the formula g = G * (M/r^2), where G is the gravitational constant (6.67 x 10^-11 N*m^2/kg^2), M is the mass of the larger object (such as the Earth), and r is the distance between the two objects.

Does acceleration due to gravity vary on different planets?

Yes, the acceleration due to gravity varies on different planets due to differences in mass and distance from the center of the planet. For example, the acceleration due to gravity on Mars is about 3.7 m/s^2, while on Jupiter it is about 24.8 m/s^2.

Is acceleration due to gravity the same everywhere on Earth?

No, the acceleration due to gravity can vary slightly depending on factors such as altitude, latitude, and local geological features. However, these variations are usually very small and can be considered negligible for most practical purposes.

How does air resistance affect acceleration due to gravity?

Air resistance can have a significant impact on the acceleration due to gravity, especially for objects with a large surface area. As the object falls, air resistance will increase and eventually balance out the gravitational force, causing the object to reach a constant speed known as terminal velocity.

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