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Question Description

Lab
Assignment 5:  Energy

Instructor’s Overview

Energy is a key concept in physics.  In this lab we will explore the concepts of
potential and kinetic energy and energy conservation.  We’ll first examine a hypothetical roller
coaster design to learn more about the interplay of potential and kinetic
energy.  In the second part of the lab,
we will use a rubber “popper” to directly experiment with energy.

This activity is based on Lab 11 of the
eScience Lab kit.

Our lab consists of two main
components.  These components are
described in detail in the eScience manual. 
Here is a quick overview:

  • In the first part of the lab, you will be
    presented with a diagram of a rollercoaster.  Based on your knowledge of potential and
    kinetic energy and energy conservation, you will answer a series of
    questions on the design.  This
    activity dovetails well with the Instructor’s
    Commentary
    on roller coasters.
  • In the second part of the lab, you will work with
    a rubber popper to explore concepts such as potential energy, kinetic
    energy, and energy conservation.

Take detailed
notes as you perform the experiment and fill out the sections below.  This document serves as your lab report.  Please include detailed descriptions of your
experimental methods and observations.  Record all of your data in the table that is provided
in this document.

Experiment Tips: 

· 
Place
the popper on a smooth flat surface like a linoleum floor.  I recommend placing the popper on the floor
since it travels a good height.  When I
initially ran the experiment on my kitchen table, the popper hit the ceiling.

· 
I
recommend recruiting a lab assistant when you run the popper experiment.  When you turn the popper inside out and place
it on the ground, it takes off in short order. 
I recommend having another person set the popper up while you time its
flight and measure its maximum height.

Date:

Student:

Abstract

Background

Overview

Hypothesis

Introduction

Material and Methods

Results

Data tables for the popper experiment:

Maximum height test

Trial

Height
(meters)

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

Average

Standard
Deviation

Flight time test

Trial

Total
flight time (seconds)

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

Average

Standard
Deviation

Analysis and Discussion

Roller coaster exercise

Consider the
following roller coaster layout taken from the eScience manual:

[img width=”475″ height=”221″ src=”file:///C:/Users/srarin/AppData/Local/Temp/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image002.jpg” alt=”Description: RollerCoasterDiagram” v_shapes=”Picture_x005F_x0020_1″>

Based on your
understanding of energy concepts, please answer the following questions.  Make sure to include detailed physical
arguments.

·  What happens to the roller coaster’s
kinetic energy between points B and C?  What
happens to its potential energy between these points?

·  Why is it important for A to be higher
than C?

· 
125

·  If the roller coaster starts at point A,
can it ever go higher than this point? What causes the roller coaster train to
lose energy over its trip?

·  List the points in order of greatest
potential energy to least.

Popper energy experiment

Based on your
results from the popper energy experiment, please answer the following
questions:

1.  What is the gravitational potential energy
of the popper at its average measured maximum height?

Use g = 9.8 m/s2,
and a mass of 0.01 kg.

Potential energy = mgh =

2.  Use the following kinematic equation to
calculate the initial velocity of the popper based on how long it is in the
air:

h = h0 + v0t
‐½ gt2,

where the final height h = 0
and initial height h0 = 0 after the popper travels up and down over
your measured time t.

3.  127

4.  Use the calculated value for the initial
velocity to find the kinetic energy of the popper right as it “pops” up.

5.  Compare your answers for potential energy
and kinetic energy.  Are they the same,
or close to the same?

6.  Is the energy stored in the popper rubber
before it “pops” more or less than the energy the popper has at its total
height? Why?

Conclusions

References

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