Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Atwood's Machine

Figure from experiment 10 from Physics with Vernier


A classic experiment in physics is the Atwood’s machine: two masses on either side of a pulley connected by a light string. When released, the heavier mass accelerates downward while the lighter one accelerates upward at the same rate. The acceleration depends on the difference in the two masses, as well as the total mass.

In this lab, you will determine the relationship between the two factors that influence the acceleration of an Atwood’s machine using a Photogate to record the machine’s motion.


  • Use a Photogate to study the acceleration of an Atwood’s machine.
  • Determine the relationships between the masses on an Atwood’s machine and the acceleration.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

Additional Requirements

You may also need an interface and software for data collection. What do I need for data collection?

Standards Correlations

See all standards correlations for Physics with Vernier »

Experiment 10 from Physics with Vernier Lab Book

<i>Physics with Vernier</i> book cover

Included in the Lab Book

Vernier lab books include word-processing files of the student instructions, essential teacher information, suggested answers, sample data and graphs, and more.

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