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Pulleys, Force, and Acceleration

  1. Sep 30, 2008 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Set up a pulley system and place two masses at rest. Give a quick tug on one mass, setting the system in motion. After release, does the system accelerate of move at a (relatively) constant velocity? Does it make sense?

    Question #2
    Now substitute a heaver mass for one of your masses. Move the heavier mass up to the top of the pulley. When you release the mass, measure the distance it travels (1m) and the time it takes. Repeat for three trials. Based on your results, calculate the average acceleration of the heavier mass? How would the acceleration of the lighter mass compare?

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution
    Okay, for the first one.. I'm just confused. When I did the lab, it looked like it moved at a relative constant velocity, but I'm not sure how to explain that. I also saw someone write down it was accelerating... so I was confused. If anyone can help me out here (just theory works), then it would be of great help.

    For the second one, I also just want to clarify - I have the distance (which is 1m for all three trials), and the times (Which I averaged out). Do I simply do d/t to find the average velocity, then divide that by time to find acceleration?

    Also, instead of putting it a new thread (unless I have to?) - the only purpose of the string in the pulley system is to change the direction, correct?

    I know this may be a bit much, but I just need this clarified. Thanks a lot.
  2. jcsd
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