Dr. Mark Rosen, a Physics instructor at Gloucester County College, reviewed Vernier’s Centripetal Force Apparatus:
“I am very familiar with the alternatives, including the more recent motorized version of the classic set-up I used as an undergraduate many decades ago. Alignment and proper leveling are important factors in successfully using all these devices. Vernier has solved both with their rigid frame structure, which maintains proper alignment, and a simple procedure to adjust its leveling feet. While it may, at first, seem like a disadvantage, not having the rotating arm motorized makes it much safer to use.
Other pluses for this apparatus are using an encoder wheel on the shaft with a photogate (or rotation sensor) to measure the angular velocity and a carriage design that allows the student to easily read the radial position and to change the mass. All the parameters (velocity, mass, radius) are simply analyzed by collecting data as the rotation of the arm slows down after an initial spin and plotting the measured force versus the velocity squared. All these graphs should be linear with the slopes verifying the relationship between the measured centripetal force and mass, radius and velocity.
It is simple and clever and provides even more versatility by allowing torque, angular acceleration, and moment of inertia to be studied as well — one apparatus that can be used for investigating rotational motion in general.”
Thanks Dr. Rosen and we’re excited to hear how well the Centripetal Force Apparatus works for you and your students!