• Support PF! Buy your school textbooks, materials and every day products Here!

How to find the mass of a pith ball using electric forces?

1. Homework Statement
A pith ball is charged by contact with a Van De Graaff machine, and is repelled away from the dome. It remains at its location. Using the chart given, what is the mass of the pith ball?

Distance between centre of generator and pith ball
0.25 m
0.30 m
0.35 m
0.40 m
0.50 m
0.60 m
0.70 m

angle of pith ball string
17.3º
15.8º
14.0º
10.8º
7.0º
4.9º
3.6º

electrostatic force (x10-3 N)
5.5
5.0
4.4
3.3
2.2
1.5
1.1

2. Homework Equations
Fe = kq1q2/r2

E = kq/r2

Fe (is proportional to) 1/r2

3. The Attempt at a Solution
I made a graph using the proportionality equation, and calculated the slope to be 2.67. That means that kq1q2 is 2.67, so I divided it by k, which is 8.99x109, and got 2.97x10-10. So I know that the charges of the pith ball and generator multiply to equal that, but I don't know how to separate them or find the mass of the pith ball after that. I don't even know if what I've done will actually help me get an answer... none of the formulas I have relate mass to these numbers in any way unless I have an acceleration, and the pith ball is motionless so that's not possible.

If anybody could offer suggestions to help, I would appreciate it very much!
 

Simon Bridge

Science Advisor
Homework Helper
17,823
1,637
What other forces could be on the ball besides the electrostatic one?
Did you draw a free body diagram for the ball?
 

Related Threads for: How to find the mass of a pith ball using electric forces?

Replies
5
Views
1K
  • Last Post
Replies
20
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
12
Views
27K
  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
5K
  • Last Post
Replies
4
Views
6K
Replies
3
Views
4K
Replies
4
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
3K
Top