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Joshua Pocaan*

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)

De La Salle University Integrated School

joshua_pocaan@dlsu.edu.ph

Abstract: Newton’s second law of motion states that in an inertial frame, force

is equal to the mass of an object multiplied to its acceleration. This experiment

will test if the net force of a system is dependent on a force applied by a part of

it. This law is verified using a cart attached to a string over a pulley with a

hanging mass on the other end. Two equations were compared, first is the

weight of the hanging mass, and second is the total mass of the system

multiplies to its acceleration. The first equation represents the force that is

applied by a part of the system, that is the acceleration due to gravity, while

the second equation represent to net force of the system. The experiment has

5 trials, with the mass of the cart being changed. It was found out that the net

force of the system is equal to the force of the hanging mass applied to the

system, that is, its weight. There is a deviation of 24% to 63% between the

values obtained from different equation. Thus, Newton’s second law of motion

applies.

To validate the Newton’s second law of

1.1 Background of the Study motion, an experimental set-up where a cart ad a

hanging mass is involved.

According to Newton’s second law of

Sir Isaac Newton stated his second law of

motion,

motion in his book ‘Principia Mathematica

Philosophiae Naturalis’ in this manner: “A change in

motion is proportional to the motive force impressed 𝐹 = 𝑚𝑎 (Eq. 1)

and takes place along the straight line in which that

force is impressed,” (Smith, 2008). where:

Though not explicitly stated, a further 𝐹 = net force of the system

discussion of this statement will lead to the modern 𝑚 = mass of the body

equation of force, F = ma. Thus, an object in

constant velocity does not have an acceleration and 𝑎 = acceleration of the body

does not have a force acting upon it. In this

experiment, Newton’s second law of motion will be This means that the net force acting on a

verified using an experiment set-up where a cart, body with mass, m, results to an acceleration of the

hanging mass, and strings involved. Moreover, some body, a.

kinematic equation will be tackled in this

experiment. A cart, with mass m1, will be attached

In this experiment, a cart will be pulled by horizontally using a string to a hanging mass, with

hanging mass and determine if the net force on the mass m2, over a pulley. In theory, the net force of the

system is only dependent on one body, thus verifying whole system is equal to the weight of the hanging

Newton’s Second Law of Motion. mass,

𝐹𝑚𝑎𝑠𝑠 = 𝑚2 𝑔 (Eq. 2)

De La Salle University, Manila, Philippines

December 12, 2017

𝐹𝑚𝑎𝑠𝑠 = force acting on the hanging mass dependent on the hanging mass only. If these

𝑚2 = mass of the hanging mass hypothesis are agree with the conclusion, Newton’s

𝑔 = acceleration due to gravity (9.8 m/s2) second law of motion thus apply.

2. METHODOLOGY

As Newton’s second law stated, force, F, is

equal to the product of the mass of the system, m¸ In order prove and see Newton’s second law

multiplied to its acceleration, a. Since the cart and of motion, an experiment is formulated by the

the hanging mass is attached to each other, they can Physics Department-, College of Science of De La

be considered as one body. Thus, Salle University – Manila.

The materials needed for the experiment

where: are as follows:

𝐹𝑛𝑒𝑡 = net force of the system

𝑚1 = mass of the cart • Cart (ME-9430)

𝑚2 = mass of the hanging mass • Pulley with clamp

𝑎 = acceleration of the system (from Eq. 4) • String

• Stopwatch

For the experiment, acceleration, a, may be • Mass Balance

obtained using the following equation: • Cart Track

• Base and Support Rod

2𝑑 • Mass Hanger and Mass Set

𝑎= (Eq. 4) • Metal Stopping Block

𝑡2

where:

𝑎 = acceleration of the system 2.1 Experimental Set-up

𝑑 = distance of the cart

𝑡 = average time travelled by the cart

cart

Value for time, t, will be the average time

travelled by the cart. On the other hand, distance, d, adjustable end stop

will be obtained by subtracting the final position and

starting position of the cart. hanging mass

Fig 1. Experimental Set-up

1.3 Objectives

This experiment will prove the application The cart was put on the track and attached

of Newton’s Second Law of Motion. Moreover, this to a string over a pulley with a hanging mass on the

experiment will introduce some concepts from other end. An adjustable end stop was between the

kinematics that will be help in the verification. cart and the pulley. Several weights were added on

the hanging mass.

1.4 Scope and Delimitation

This experiment will only tackle Newton’s 2.3 Procedure

second law of motion, where force is equal to the

product of the mass of an object and its acceleration. Cart was set on the track to see which way

Moreover, this equation applies in a frictionless it rolls to level the track. The feet of the base and

system, however this cannot be attained in the set- support rod where the track is attached was

up. Thus, some errors and deviations in the values adjusted until the cart was not moving. Then, the

will be expected. mass of the cart was measured using the mass

balance. Moreover, the pulley was attached at the

1.5 Hypothesis end of the track and placed the cart back on the

It is hypothesized that the values of Eq. 2 track.

and Eq. 3 are equal even when the mass of the cart

De La Salle University, Manila, Philippines

December 12, 2017

A string was attached to the hole in the cart Theoretically, the Fnet and Fmass must be

and a mass hanger at the other end of the string. equal. In this experiment, two free body diagrams

Next, the cart was pulled back until the mass hanger can be made to prove that they must be equal. From

reached the pulley. The position was then recorded Figure 1, the free body diagram are as follows.

as starting position. A test run was done to

determine how much mass is required by the mass

a. b.

hanger to make the cart run for 2 seconds until it

reached the stopper. This test run is needed to lessen 𝐹⃗ T 𝐹⃗ T ⃗⃗⃗⃗⃗

𝐹𝑁

errors due to reaction time when the experiment is

being done. The point where the cart reaches the end 𝑎⃗ ⃗⃗⃗⃗⃗⃗⃗

𝑊𝑚 2 𝑎⃗ ⃗⃗⃗⃗⃗⃗⃗

𝑊𝑚 1

stop is recorded as final position.

Lastly, the 5 runs were done and then

recorded the time. The procedure is repeated for 2

more trials; however, the mass of the cart was Fig 2. Free body diagram at hanging mass (a.) and

changed. cart (b.)

Eq. 2 and Eq. 3 will be compared to each

other to confirm Newton’s second. In Eq. 2, it shows The forces acting on the hanging mass, m2,

the total net force acting on the system. On the other are the tension of the string, 𝐹⃗ T, acceleration of the

hand, Eq. 3 shows the force that is acting on the system, 𝑎⃗, and the weight of the hanging mass, ⃗⃗⃗⃗⃗⃗⃗

𝑊𝑚 2 .

hanging mass. This is to show that the acceleration On the cart the forces acting on the cart, m1,

acting on the system only affects the mass of the

are the tension of the string, 𝐹⃗ T, acceleration of the

hanging mass.

system, 𝑎⃗, and the weight of the cart, ⃗⃗⃗⃗⃗⃗⃗

𝑊𝑚 1 , and the

normal force on the cart, ⃗⃗⃗⃗⃗

𝐹𝑁 .

3. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Getting the net force, that is the sum of all

The following tables show the data needed forces, of the whole system are as follows:

to verify Newton’s second law of motion. These data

show the distance of the track, average running

time, and the masses of the cart and hanging mass. ∑𝐹⃗ = 𝐹

⃗⃗⃗⃗⃗ ⃗⃗⃗⃗⃗ ⃗⃗⃗⃗⃗⃗⃗ ⃗⃗⃗⃗⃗⃗⃗

𝑇 + 𝐹𝑁 + 𝑊𝑚 1 + 𝑊𝑚 2 (Eq. 5)

Table 1. Position of cart

Initial Release Position 0.680 m Since the normal force on the cart, ⃗⃗⃗⃗⃗

𝐹𝑁 , and

Final Position 0.388 m the weight of the cart, ⃗⃗⃗⃗⃗⃗⃗

𝑊𝑚 1 , are equal in magnitude

Total distance, d 0.292 m but of opposite direction will eliminated.

Additionally, the tension of the string, 𝐹⃗ T, will be

Table 2. Average time of cart and hanging mass eliminated. Thus,

Cart Mass, m1 Hanging Average Time

0.518 kg

Mass, m2

0.010 kg 2.024 s

∑𝐹⃗ = ⃗⃗⃗⃗⃗⃗⃗

𝑊𝑚 2

0.768 kg 0.010 kg 2.428 s

1.018 kg 0.010 kg 3.417 s Following Newton’s second law of motion,

the net force of the hanging mass – cart system is

Given the data above, these were used to equal to the weight of the hanging mass, ⃗⃗⃗⃗⃗⃗⃗

𝑊𝑚 2 , and

determine the force acting upon the system using Eq. 2.

equations for acceleration and force.

𝐹𝑚𝑎𝑠𝑠 = 𝑚2 𝑔 (Eq. 2)

Table 3. Acceleration and net force of the cart and

hanging mass system where:

m1 m2 a Fnet Fmass % diff 𝐹𝑚𝑎𝑠𝑠 = force acting on the hanging mass

(kg) (kg) (m/s2) (N) (N) (%) 𝑚2 = mass of the hanging mass

0.518 0.010 0.143 0.076 0.098 25.29 𝑔 = acceleration due to gravity (9.8 m/s2)

0.768 0.010 0.099 0.077 0.098 24.00

1.018 0.010 0.050 0.051 0.098 63.09

As shown in the experiment, however, Eq.

As shown in Table 3, forces acting upon the 2 and Eq. 3 have small deviances with each other.

system were calculated using Eq. 2 and Eq.3.

De La Salle University, Manila, Philippines

December 12, 2017

These equations show different values, thus The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

resulting from quarter to more than half the (Winter 2008 ed.). Retrieved from

difference between the two. https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2008/ent

This deviance may be due, but not limited, ries/newton-principia

to human errors such reaction time for stopping the

stopwatch, measurement of initial and final

position, and friction in the system.

Eq. 2 serves as the basis for verification of

Newton’s second law as shown in Eq. 3.

4. CONCLUSION

As observed in this experiment, it can be

concluded that it is, in fact, Newton’s second law of

motion applies. With small deviation, the net force

of the hanging mass – cart system using Eq. 2 and

Eq. 3 have small deviation. Eq. 2 served as the

standard value for verification of Newton’s second

law since it is equal to the weight of the hanging

mass. Eq. 3 is being tested where it is solely based

on Newton’s second law, that is, force is equal to the

total mass of the system multiplied to the

acceleration of the system.

The deviation in values between the two

equations may be lessened if errors such as, but not

limited to, reaction time for stopping the stopwatch,

measurement of initial and final position, and

friction in the system. Moreover, additional trials for

the experiment can also help lessen deviance and

make the data set more accurate.

5. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

This paper would not possible without the

teachings of our laboratory and lecture professor in

General Physics I, Mr. Jam Lambert U. Catenza and

Mr. Brandon Chan. To my fellow groupmates, Julia

Fatima Yobel C.Teope and Matthew Samin for

helping me in carrying this experiment. I would also

like to thank the Physics Department of De La Salle

University for providing the materials and

laboratory manuals and letting us use their

laboratory.

6. REFERENCES

Physics Department, De La Salle University -

Manila. (n.d.). Laboratory Manual. Retrieved

Decemeber 10, 2017, from Undergraduate

Laboratory Experiments:

https://www.dlsu.edu.ph/academics/colleges/cos

/physics/_pdf/cos-newton's-second-law.pdf

Principia Mathematica. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.),

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