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Energy Transformations

Energy Transformation Lab

Purpose:

In this activity you will be looking at the relationships that exist between different variables when one type of energy is transformed into a different type of energy.

Info:

  • Elastic energy is the energy stored in a deformed object.  In this lab we will be storing the energy in a compressed spring.

  • Kinetic energy is the energy of a moving object.

  • Lab Setup



Part 1:  Learning the Program

  1. Open the program you will be using in a new tab.  The program can be found here.

  2. Open your graphing program in a new tab.  The program can be found here.

  3. Set Trevor's mass to 100 kg and the spring constant to 900 N/m. 

  4. Pull Trevor back so that the spring is compressed 0.6 m.

  5. Fire Trevor and time him as he moves from blue line to blue line.

  6. Use the blue line to blue line distance indicated in the program to determine Trevor's speed on the ice.  Record this speed.  You will need it when you answer the questions at the end of this lab.

  7. If your speed is not somewhere between 1.6 m/s and 2.0 m/s, you are doing something wrong.  So if you are outside that range, check your settings and try again.

Part 2:  How mass affects velocity

  1. Set the spring constant at some value and don't vary it for this entire part of the lab.  Using a value below 1000 should make this part of the lab easier to complete.

  2. Pick a compression value between 0.6 m and 1.6 m and keep that the same throughout the course of this part of the lab.

  3. Make sure you record in your lab book the values you chose for the spring constant and the compression.

  4. Create a data table that will hold five different trials.  For each trial you will be recording a unique mass for Trevor.  You should also record time through the neutral zone and the speed of Trevor.

  5. Graph your results.  Make sure that you adhere to the rules of good graphing and that all the things that need to go with your graph are included in your lab book.

  6. Based on the equation of your graph, make a statement in your lab book about the relationship between mass and velocity.

Part 3:  How spring constant affects velocity

  1. Set the mass of Trevor at some value and don't vary it for this entire part of the lab.  Using a value greater than 90 kg will give you better results.

  2. Pick a compression value between 0.6 m and 1.6 m and keep that the same throughout the course of this part of the lab.

  3. Make sure you record in your lab book the values you chose for the mass and the compression.

  4. Create a data table that will hold five different trials.  For each trial you will be recording a unique spring constant.  You should also record the time through the neutral zone, and the speed of Trevor.

  5. Graph your results.  Make sure that you adhere to the rules of good graphing and that all the things that need to go with your graph are included in your lab book.

  6. Based on the equation of your graph, make a statement in your lab book about the relationship between spring and velocity.

Part 4:  How spring compression affects velocity

  1. Set the mass of Trevor at some value and don't vary it for this entire part of the lab.  Using a value  greater than 90 kg will give you better results.

  2. Set the spring constant to some value below 1000 N/m and leave it there for this entire part of the lab.

  3. Make sure you record in your lab book the values you chose for the mass and the spring constant.

  4. Create a data table that will hold five different trials.  For each trial you will be recording a unique spring compression.  You should also record the time through the neutral zone, and the speed of Trevor.

  5. Graph your results.  Make sure that you adhere to the rules of good graphing and that all the things that need to go with your graph are included in your lab book.

  6. Based on the equation of your graph, make a statement in your lab book about the relationship between spring compression and velocity.

  7. Answer the questions found here.

Things to have in your lab book:

  • Purpose

  • A picture of the lab set up. 

  • 3 data tables and 3 good graphs

  • Sources of error and how to correct
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