Measuring Mass of a Hanging Weight: Stephen's Question

In summary, during the lab, the mass of a weight hanging from an air track was measured in order to calculate the force of the weight. The formula for force is F=mg, where m is the mass and g is the acceleration due to gravity. In this case, the mass of the weight was .27004kg and the acceleration due to gravity was 9.8m/s/s. The use of a negative sign in the formula depends on the chosen direction for the force, with +ve indicating downward direction.
  • #1
StephenDoty
265
0
We did a lab where we had to measure the mass of a weight that was hanging from an air track which pulled the glider through two timegates positioned above the air track.

I have to find the force of the hanging weight. F=mg my first mass was .27004kg and the gravity is obviouly 9.8m/s/s.

So do I use F=.27004kg * (9.8m/s/s)
or
F= .27004kg * (-9.8m/s/s)

Do I put the negative sign with the gravity as the force is downward with the hanging weight?

Thank you
Stephen
 
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  • #2
The - sign only indicates a direction. So you can leave it as +ve once you remember that putting g as +ve says that the downward direction is taken as +ve.
 
  • #3
,

Great question, Stephen! In this case, you would use the first equation, F=0.27004kg * (9.8m/s/s). The negative sign is not necessary because the force of gravity is always directed downwards, regardless of the direction of the glider's movement. However, it is important to keep in mind that the force of gravity is a vector quantity, meaning it has both magnitude and direction. So, for example, if the glider was moving in the opposite direction (upwards), you would need to use the negative sign to indicate that the force of gravity is acting in the opposite direction. Keep up the good work in your experiments!
 

Related to Measuring Mass of a Hanging Weight: Stephen's Question

1. How do you measure the mass of a hanging weight?

To measure the mass of a hanging weight, you will need a simple balance scale and a known mass. First, hang the weight on one side of the balance scale and the known mass on the other side. Adjust the position of the known mass until the balance scale is level. Once the scale is balanced, the mass of the hanging weight will be equal to the mass of the known weight.

2. What is the importance of measuring the mass of a hanging weight?

Measuring the mass of a hanging weight is important for various reasons. It can be used in experiments to determine the effects of gravity on objects of different masses. It can also be used to calculate the weight of an object, which helps in practical applications such as weighing packages or determining the load capacity of structures.

3. Can the mass of a hanging weight change over time?

No, the mass of a hanging weight does not change over time. Mass is a measure of the amount of matter in an object, and this does not change unless matter is added or removed from the object. However, the weight of the hanging weight may change if it is affected by external forces such as wind or temperature changes.

4. How do you ensure accurate measurements when measuring the mass of a hanging weight?

To ensure accurate measurements, it is important to use a balance scale that is properly calibrated and maintained. The known mass used in the measurement should also be of high accuracy. It is also important to keep the balance scale on a stable surface and avoid any external factors that may affect the measurement, such as air currents.

5. Is there any difference between measuring the mass of a hanging weight and measuring the weight of a hanging weight?

Yes, there is a difference between measuring the mass of a hanging weight and measuring the weight of a hanging weight. Mass is a measure of the amount of matter in an object, while weight is a measure of the force of gravity acting on an object. The mass of a hanging weight will not change regardless of the location, while the weight may vary depending on the strength of the gravitational pull.

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