Newton's Second Law Experiment

This HTML5 app simulates an air track glider setup, as it is used for experiments on constant acceleration motion. A gravitational acceleration of 9.81 m/s2 was presupposed.

The mass of the wagon, the value of the hanging mass and the coefficient of friction (within certain limits) can be changed.

For one measurement you have to adjust the measuring distance (from the initial position to the light barrier LB, accuracy 5 mm) with pressed mouse button and to read the corresponding time (digital display, accuracy 1 ms). During the movement a red point in the t-s-diagram (time - displacement) indicates the present time and the covered distance. As soon as the measurement of time is finished, the pair of measured values will be marked on the diagram. After a mouse click on the "Record data" button the data will be registered on the list.

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Mass of the wagon:
M = g
Hanging mass:
m = g
Coefficient of friction:
μ =
W. Fendt 1997,  T. Mzoughi 1998

Underlying formulas:

Application of Newton's second law:

formula 1

a ... acceleration
m ... hanging mass
g ... gravitational acceleration
μ ... coefficient of friction
M ... mass of the wagon

Motion with constant acceleration and initial speed 0:

formula 2

s ... displacement
a ... acceleration
t ... time

Physics Apps

Walter Fendt, December 23, 1997
Last modification: December 17, 2018
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Thanks to professor Taha Mzoughi (Mississippi State University) for the translation!