Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Cart on a Ramp

Figure from experiment 3A from Physics with Vernier


This experiment uses an incline and a low-friction cart. If you give the cart a gentle push up the incline, the cart will roll upward, slow and stop, and then roll back down, speeding up. A graph of its velocity vs. time would show these changes. Is there a mathematical pattern to the changes in velocity? What is the accompanying pattern to the position vs. time graph? What does the acceleration vs. time graph look like? Is the acceleration constant?

In this experiment, you will use a Motion Encoder System to collect position, velocity, and acceleration data for a cart rolling up and down an incline. Analysis of the graphs of this motion will answer these questions.


  • Collect position, velocity, and acceleration data as a cart rolls freely up and down an incline.
  • Analyze position vs. time, velocity vs. time, and acceleration vs. time graphs.
  • Determine the best fit equations for the position vs. time and velocity vs. time graphs.
  • Determine the mean acceleration from the acceleration vs. time graph.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

Option 1

Option 2

Option 3

Additional Requirements

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

Physics with Vernier

See other experiments from the lab book.

1Graph Matching
2ABack and Forth Motion
2BBack and Forth Motion
3ACart on a Ramp
3BCart on a Ramp
4ADetermining g on an Incline
4BDetermining g on an Incline
5Picket Fence Free Fall
6Ball Toss
7Bungee Jump Accelerations
8AProjectile Motion (Photogates)
8BProjectile Motion (Projectile Launcher)
9Newton's Second Law
10Atwood's Machine
11Newton's Third Law
12Static and Kinetic Friction
13Air Resistance
14Pendulum Periods
15Simple Harmonic Motion
16Energy of a Tossed Ball
17Energy in Simple Harmonic Motion
18AMomentum, Energy and Collisions
18BMomentum, Energy and Collisions
19AImpulse and Momentum
19BImpulse and Momentum
20Centripetal Accelerations on a Turntable
21Accelerations in the Real World
22Ohm's Law
23Series and Parallel Circuits
25The Magnetic Field in a Coil
26The Magnetic Field in a Slinky
27Electrical Energy
28APolarization of Light
28BPolarization of Light (Rotary Motion Sensor)
29Light, Brightness and Distance
30Newton's Law of Cooling
31The Magnetic Field of a Permanent Magnet
32Sound Waves and Beats
33Speed of Sound
34Tones, Vowels and Telephones
35Mathematics of Music

Experiment 3A 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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