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Experiment 2: Resultant and Equilibrant Forces

Priela, Jan Andre T.; Sacular, Ehdielyn C.; Sollestre, Louisiana P.; Soriano, Marttin Jacob P.; Tan,
Cayle Lester S.
Group No. 7: 2IMT
12 September 2016
Mesias, Justin; Simbulan, Kristan

Introduction
The resultant of a system of forces is the vector
sum of the individual forces which make up this
system. This is the single force which produces the
same effect as the given system of forces. It is equal
in magnitude and opposite in direction to the
equilibrant of that system of forces. The objective of
this experiment is to use the force table to
experimentally determine the force which balances
two other forces by directly measuring the
equilibrant. The experimental result will be
compared with the theoretical predictions by adding
the two forces using their components.
Theory
A scalar is a physical quantity that possesses
magnitude only. Examples of scalar quantities are
mass, time density, and temperature. A vector is a
quantity that possesses both magnitude and direction;
examples of vector quantities are velocity,
acceleration and force. A vector can be represented
by an arrow pointing in the direction of the vector,
the length of the line should be proportional to the
magnitude of the vector.
Vectors can be added either graphically or
analytically. The sum or resultant of two or more
vectors is a single vector which produces the same
effect. For example, if two or more forces act at a
certain point, their resultant is that force which, if
applied at that point, has the same effect as the two
separate forces acting together. The equilibrant is
defined as the force equal and opposite to the
resultant. The resultant can be determine by using
experimental or component method.
Experimental Method: Two forces are applied
on the force table by using masses over pulleys
positioned at certain angles. Then the angle and mass
hung over a third pulley are adjusted until it balances
the other two forces. This third force is called the

equilibrant ( FE ) since it is the force which


established equilibrium. The equilibrant is not the

same as the resultant ( FR ). The resultant is the


addition of the two forces. While the equilibrant is
equal in magnitude to the resultant, it is in the
opposite direction because it balances the resultant
(see Fig.1). So the equilibrant is the negative of the
resultant:

- F FR FA FB
FR F
E
R
FFBB
FA

FA

FE
F
E
Figure 1. The equilibrant balances the resultant
Component Method: Two forces are added
together by adding the x- and y-components of the
forces. First the two forces are broken into their xand y-components using trigonometry:

FA Ax x Ay y and FB Bx x B y y

where Ax is the component of the vector FA and


x is the unit vector in the x-direction as shown Fig.

FA and FB , the
2. To determine the sum of
components are added to get the components of the

resultant FR .

Figure 2: Vector Components

F2

1.5582 N

145

FR ( Ax Bx ) x ( Ay By ) y Rx x Ry y

F2
F3

1.5582 N
1.22206 N

145
266

F1
F3

1.37494 N
1.22206 N

17
266

To complete the analysis, the resultant force


must be in the form of a magnitude and a direction
(angle). So the components of the resultant (Rx and
Ry) must be combined using the Pythagorean
theorem since the components are at right angles to
each other:

FR Rx2 R y2
and using trigonometry gives the angle:

tan

Ry
Rx

Methodology
The force table is a circular platform mounted
on a tripod stand. The three legs of the tripod have
adjustable screws that can be used to level the
circular platform. The circular platform has angle
markings, in degrees, on its surface. Two or more
pulleys can be clamped at any location along the
edge of the platform. Three strings are attached to a
central ring and then each string is passed over a
pulley. Masses are added to the other end of the
strings. The hanging masses produced a tension force
in each string. The masses are directly proportional
to the gravitational force. The tension force in each
string is equal to the gravitational force. The angle
for the third pulley and the mass were determined by
trial and error. When the forces are balanced, the ring
positioned at the exact center of the table. In reading
the angles, x-axis was assumed to be from the 180
mark to the 0 mark, with 0 being the
positive x direction, and the y-axis to be from the
270 mark to the 90 mark with 90 being the
positive y direction. See Fig. 3.

Table 1 presents raw data of each individual


forces gathered from the experiment. The magnitude
were computed using the formula: F=mg, wherein m
is mass and g is gravitational constant (9.8m/s2). The
unit that was used for force is Newton. Force 1 is
1.37494 N. Force 2 is 1.5572 N. Force 3 is 1.22206
N. The angles were use to designate the direction of
each magnitude. The direction of force 1 17. The
direction of force 2 is 145. The direction of force 3
is 266.
Table 2. Resultant Forces (Experimental)
Ri
Magnitude
Direction
F1
Fa
1.22206 N
86
F2
F2
Fb
1.37494 N
197
F3
F1
Fc
1.5582 N
325
F3
Table 2 presents the resultant forces gathered
using the experimental method. The resultant force
is the addition of the two forces which is equal to the
third force. The direction of the resultant is the
opposite angle of the third force. The direction were
computed by adding 180 if the third angle is less than
180 and subtracting 180 if the third angle is greater
than 180. Force a is the combination of force 1 and
2. Force b is the combination of force 2 and 3. Force
c is the combination of force 1 and 3. The magnitude
of Fa is 1.22206 N which is equal to the third force
(Force 3). The magnitude of Fb is 1.37494 N which is
equal to the third force (Force 1). The magnitude of
Fc is 1.5582 N which is equalt to the third force
(Force 2). The direction of Fa is 86 which is the
difference of 266 and 180. The direction of F b is 197
which is the sum of 17 and 180. The direction of F c is
325 which is the sum mof 145 and 180.
Table 3. Equilibrant Forces (Experimental)
Ei

Figure 3. Force table with axes

F1

Results and Discussion


Table 1, 2 and 3 presents all the raw data
gathered from the experiment.

F2

Table 1. Individual Forces (Experimental)

F1

Fi

Magnitude

Direction

F1

1.37494 N

17

F2
F3
F3

Magnitude

Direction

FA

1.22206 N

266

FB

1.37494 N

17

FC

1.5582 N

145

Table 3 presents the equilibrant forces gathered


using the experimental method. The equilibrant force
is equal in magnitude to the resultant, it is in the
opposite direction because it balances the resultant.
Force A is the combination of force 1 and 2. Force B
is the combination of force 2 and 3. Force C is the
combination of force 1 and 3. The magnitude of F A is
1.22206 N which is equal to the resultant of Fa. The
magnitude of of FB is 1.37494 N which is equal to
the resultant of Fb. The magnitude of FC is 1.5582 N
which is equal to the resultant of Fb. The direction of
FA is 266 which it the opposite of 86. The direction
of FB is 17 which is the opposite of 197. The
direction of FC is 145 which is the opposite of 325.
Table 4. Resultant Forces (Computed)
Ri
Magnitude
F1
Fa
1.297 N
F2
F2
Fb
1.399 N
F3
F1
F3

Fc

1.477 N

Direction
88.276
193.43
326.407

Table 4 presents the resultant forces gathered


using the component method. The resultant forces
were computed using the two forces by adding their
x- and y-components. The two forces are broken into
their x- and y-components using trigonometry:

FA Ax x Ay y and FB Bx x B y y .

The resultant force must be in the form a magnitude


and a direction (angle). The resultant (Rx and Ry)
were combined using the Pythagorean theorem since
the components are at right angles to each other.
Using trigonometry gives the angle:

tan

Ry
Rx

The magnitude of Fa is 1.297 N. The magnitude of Fb


is 1.399 N. The magnitude of Fc is 1.477 N. The
direction of Fa is 88.276. The direction of Fb is
193.43. The direction of Fc is 326.407.
The resultant forces gathered from experimental
and component method have slight differences with
each other. This may indicate that there can be
possible sources of errors in this experiment. For
example, if there was friction in the pulleys, this
would have skewed the measurement by changing
the sum of the forces in the experiment. The mass of
the strings would have done the same as the friction
by changing the sum of the forces which would not
have the same resultant or equilibrant force. If the
strings were not at a 90 degree angle, the resultant for
would also be skewed because the angle measure
determines the force in both the vertical and
horizontal positions. The errors would most be
because of the friction in the pulleys, the mass of the

strings, and lastly, the direction of forces because


they all effect the calculations in decreasing order.
Conclusion
Force table was used to provide measurements
for the magnitude and direction of the three vectors.
The equilibrant force is equal in magnitude but
opposite in direction to the original resultant force
acting on the object. It is possible that the
computation for the magnitude and direction of the
resultant forces (computed) are closer to the
measurement of the resultant forces (experimental).
Sources of error may include friction in the pulleys,
the mass of the strings and direction of the forces.
These errors lead to small difference of resultant
forces gathered from experimental and component
method.
Question and Answer
1.Differentiate the resultant and equilibrant of two
forces.
A resultant is a vector sum of all the individual
vectors that can be determined through adding all the
individual forces together through the use of vector
addition methods. A resultant force would cause a
stationary object to start moving or an object with a
given velocity to speed up or slow down or change
directions such that velocity of the object changes. It
is usually computed by the component method given
two or more known forces. If a resultant force acts on
an object then that object can be brought into
equilibrium by applying an additional force that
exactly balances this resultant. Such a force called
the equilibrant force acting on the object. The
equilibrant force is the negative vector of the
resultant force.
2. If three concurrent forces are in equilibrium, what
is the relation between any one of the other two
forces?
If three concurrent forces are equilibrium any of
them is the equilibrant force of the other two forces.
These have similar magnitude but opposite in
direction and their net force is zero.
3. If two forces with the same magnitude were
exactly in opposite directions, what is the magnitude
and direction of their resultant? What is the
magnitude and direction of their equilibrium?
If two forces with the same magnitude were exactly
in opposite directions, both of the resultant and
equilibrants magnitude is zero and there would be
no direction.
4. Use the component method to find the magnitude
and direction of the concurrent forces given below:
A=2000 N at 0
B=1500 N at 60
C=1000 N at 150
D=3800 N at 225
Given
X-component
Y-component

A=2000 N at 0
B=1500 N at
60
C=1000 N at
150
D=3800 N at
225

2000
750
-866.03
-2687.01

0
1299.04
500
-2687.01

-803.04

-887.97

Polar(-803.04,-887.97)
R=1197.23
=-132.13+360
=227.87
Reference
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