The purpose of this lab was to understand equilibrium. To do this, you must find the equilibrant of the resultant of three vectors, both mathematically and graphically and test the results.
A) Put the weights necessary for each of the vector forces on each hook.
B) Set the wheels of the force table at the proper angles, including the calculated equilibrant.
C) When placing the hooks on the wheels, be careful to hold the table in place so it does not flip over.
D) To test, unscrew the screw in the middle of the board. If nothing moves, the system is in equilibrium.
E) Test the mathematically calculated vectors the same way the graphical ones were tested repeating Steps A-D
Errors can occur in this lab in both collecting data and in testing. While graphically collecting data, it is easy to not be precise given the ruler and protractor given. To fix this, a ruler and protractor with good precision are needed. Also, it is important to use a large scale in order to lessen error because most rulers only have millimeters. When calculating the equilibrant mathematically, it is important to check all work and use a calculator because if one error is made, a lot of important data could be
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While testing, it is possible to have the incorrect amount of weight on the hooks. It is important to know that each hook contributes to the mass so that the student will not put on more weight than necessary. Another error that can occur while testing is throwing the system off because the table was not held in place while all the weights were being hooked
To fix this, you should ask for help while putting weights on. Finally, it is important to make sure the angles are in the correct position so the system will be in equilibrium. To prevent the possibility of incorrect angles, it is important to double check the system before the screw is unscrewed.
In this lab, equilibrium is the main idea. Equilibrium is a condition in which all the forces in a system counteract each other. When adding vectors, equilibrium can be showed by a representative force, called an equilibrant. The equilibrant is the same magnitude of the resultant force, but the equilibrant has the opposite direction of the resultant. This lab proves that the equilibrant counteracts the forces of three other vectors by testing data found by both graphing and calculating x- and y- coordinates. Each method has advantages and disadvantages in this lab. For example, a mathematical solution has less chance for error, but can be a tedious process. Graphing shows a model to scale, but can cause many errors. For this lab, it is most appropriate to use a mathematical solution.