Determining Acceleration Due to Gravity Essay

Determining Acceleration Due to Gravity Essay

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Determining Acceleration Due to Gravity The Determination of the acceleration due to gravity at the surface of
the earth, g, using a simple pendulum.

Aim: The determination of the acceleration due to gravity at the
surface of the earth, g, using a simple pendulum



Background
==========

All bodies exert gravitational forces on one another. A large mass,
such as the earth produces a gravitational field.

Gravity acts between any two objects, causing a force of attraction
which tries to pull the two objects together. An example is if you
release an object above the ground it falls down as it is pulled down
by gravity.

My investigation aims to allocate a value to the acceleration this
object would experience due to the earth's gravity.

Isaac Newton first discovered gravity when an apple fell on his head.
He discovered that every object has a mass and that two masses attract
each other. Newton wanted to calculate the gravitational field
strength of the earth i.e. what size the acceleration objects, such as
the apple experienced, due to the earth's gravity.

I am going to determine this value, not using a free-fall object, but
a simple pendulum. A simple pendulum consists of a mass, suspended
from a fixed point by a length of string. The forces acting on the bob
(mass) of the pendulum are tension in the string (t) and weight (mg)
as shown.

When the bob is displaced from its equilibrium position, with the
thread taut and then released it oscillates about the equilibrium
position in a fixed vertical p...


... middle of paper ...


... eliminate reaction time of the experimenter having effect on the
results. Perhaps a laser beam could be used as a sensor to count the
oscillations. If connected to a logger, the number of times the laser
beam is interrupted, by oscillating pendulum count be used to
determine how many oscillations have been made. The calculated period
would be more accurate and precise if error such as the above could be
eliminated and the experiment bettered and the margin of uncertainty
made much smaller.

The value I have found is a value for the acceleration due to gravity
at the earth's surface only. The earth's gravitational field varies
all over the earth. It would be interesting to see how much it varies
and by how much. For example, it is said that at the equator the
acceleration due to gravity is different to at the poles.

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