# How Does Cutting the String Affect the Motion of Air Track Gliders?

• Adinabobina
In summary, the conversation is about a lab for an intro to mechanics physics class that involves a frictionless air track glider. The student is having trouble with three questions, one about the subsequent motion of each mass when the string connecting them is cut, another about calculating the actual tension in the string when the acceleration is small, and the last about how measuring the glider's acceleration during a full bounce helps to minimize friction. The student is asking for a straightforward and detailed method to approach each problem, but it is important to show effort and work before asking for help.
Adinabobina

## Homework Statement

Okay, so I did a lab for my intro to mechanics physics class the other day and my lab report is due at 5pm tonight and I am having A LOT of trouble.
The lab was a frictionless air track glider on a horizontal surface with a fixed mass M connected by a massless string to a hanging mass m, which we changed each trial in order to prove Newtons second law, F= ma.
The questions I am having trouble with are:

1. Suppose the string connecting M and m is cut during their motion. Explain the subsequent motion of each mass. (Hint: comment on the subsequent velocity and acceleration of each mass)

2. In case the acceleration of the system is very small, we can naively estimate that T=mg .
Calculate the “actual” tension T in the string for one value of the acceleration and represent the difference between “actual” and “naive estimation” as a % difference.

3. During the experiment we assume that the air track is frictionless. But there is in fact a small amount of friction between the glider and the track. Explain how measuring the glider's acceleration for a full bounce (glider moves up and down the track) helps to minimize the affects for friction? How would your experimental value of g change (smaller or larger) if you only measured the glider going down the track? How would your experimental value of g change (smaller or larger) if you only measured the gliders acceleration coming up the track? (Note: you do not have to offer a quantitative answer.)

## Homework Equations

acceleration= mg/ (m + m)

## The Attempt at a Solution

I don't even know where to begin. Please, any help is greatly appreciated. I am a learning disabled student so vague explanations tend to make me extremely confused. It would be wonderful if someone could just provide me with a straight forward and detailed method of how to approach each problem so that I am on the right track and can then answer the questions myself.
Thank you so much!

Adinabobina said:

## Homework Statement

Okay, so I did a lab for my intro to mechanics physics class the other day and my lab report is due at 5pm tonight and I am having A LOT of trouble.
The lab was a frictionless air track glider on a horizontal surface with a fixed mass M connected by a massless string to a hanging mass m, which we changed each trial in order to prove Newtons second law, F= ma.
The questions I am having trouble with are:

1. Suppose the string connecting M and m is cut during their motion. Explain the subsequent motion of each mass. (Hint: comment on the subsequent velocity and acceleration of each mass)

2. In case the acceleration of the system is very small, we can naively estimate that T=mg .
Calculate the “actual” tension T in the string for one value of the acceleration and represent the difference between “actual” and “naive estimation” as a % difference.

3. During the experiment we assume that the air track is frictionless. But there is in fact a small amount of friction between the glider and the track. Explain how measuring the glider's acceleration for a full bounce (glider moves up and down the track) helps to minimize the affects for friction? How would your experimental value of g change (smaller or larger) if you only measured the glider going down the track? How would your experimental value of g change (smaller or larger) if you only measured the gliders acceleration coming up the track? (Note: you do not have to offer a quantitative answer.)

## Homework Equations

acceleration= mg/ (m + m)

## The Attempt at a Solution

I don't even know where to begin. Please, any help is greatly appreciated. I am a learning disabled student so vague explanations tend to make me extremely confused. It would be wonderful if someone could just provide me with a straight forward and detailed method of how to approach each problem so that I am on the right track and can then answer the questions myself.
Thank you so much!

As you have learned via PM, you must show some work and effort on your part before we can be of tutorial help. That's very clear in the Rules link at the top of the page.

How many questions have you answered so far in this lab? Can you post those and your answers to them?

What are your thoughts on the questions that you posted above. Start with #1 -- What is going on before the string is cut? What are the motions of the two masses before? And what changes (in terms of forces) when the string is cut? Show us a free body diagram (FBD) for each mass before and after the string is cut.

## 1. What is an air track glider?

An air track glider is a small, lightweight vehicle that is used in physics experiments to demonstrate the principles of motion and friction. It is typically made of plastic or metal and is designed to move smoothly along a track with minimal friction.

## 2. How does an air track glider work?

An air track glider works by utilizing the principles of air resistance and friction. The glider is placed on an air track, which has a smooth surface and is filled with a cushion of air. This air cushion reduces the amount of friction between the glider and the track, allowing it to move with very little resistance.

## 3. What is the purpose of using an air track glider in a lab?

The purpose of using an air track glider in a lab is to demonstrate and study the effects of motion, friction, and air resistance on an object. By using the glider, students can observe and measure the changes in motion and velocity under different conditions, and gain a better understanding of these principles.

## 4. How do you set up an air track glider experiment?

To set up an air track glider experiment, you will need an air track, a glider, a stopwatch, and any other materials required for the specific experiment. The air track should be placed on a flat surface and connected to an air supply. The glider is then placed on the track, and the air supply is turned on to create the air cushion. The stopwatch is used to measure the time and distance of the glider's motion.

## 5. What are some common sources of error in air track glider experiments?

Some common sources of error in air track glider experiments include variations in air pressure, unevenness of the track surface, and inaccuracies in measurement tools. It is important to carefully control these factors and repeat experiments multiple times to minimize errors and obtain accurate results.

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