Acceleration On A Scale

Purpose

To illustrate forces in an accelerating system.

Equipment

Mass hanging from spring in frame hanging from spring scale, as photographed.

Suggestions

Ask your students what will happen, and why, before doing the experiment.

Images

c4-61

Description

A rigid frame hangs from a spring scale as photographed. In the frame, a mass is pulled down and attached to a hook at the bottom of the frame by a short thread loop. (Ask your students how this mass hangs from a spring. The affects the weight shown by the spring scale.) In this position the spring scale reads about 8 Newtons. Q: When the string is burned, releasing the mass, will the reading on the spring scale immediately after the string breaks (a) increase, (b) decrease, or (c) stay the same? A: It will increase.

References

Richard M. Sutton, Demonstration Experiments in Physics, Demonstration M-114. Acceleration on a Balance. C. Frank Griffin and Peter N. Henriksen, Physics challenges, TPT 18, 135-136 (1980).