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Collisions on an Air Table

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This lab uses an air table and sparking mechanism to record the path (position vs time) of two air pucks before and after a two dimensional elastic collision. The data is then analyzed to test for the conservation of momentum and the conservation of kinetic energy. In most write-ups, the specific procedure used to test these two laws is left to the students to devise. Depending on the level of the course, error analysis of the data may or may not be emphasized. Velcro strips that wrap around the pucks are available for the study of inelastic collisions.

Course Level

Introductory: P3, P13, P15

Student Handouts


Number of set-ups available: 10

Per lab station:

1 coordinate ruled table
1 plexiglass triangle with position indicator
1 clear plastic ruler
1 protractor
1 roll of masking tape

Per class:

1 air table
1 spark generator/wiring
2 air pucks
1 large carbon paper sheet
1 roll of masking tape
1 air supply 2 velcro strips 1 foot pedal

Charges apparatus


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Site contact: largent@Dartmouth.EDU

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