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Equipment provided for the experiment

Launcher set-up on the desk

Mini launcher is ready to fire....

...and we have lift off!

...and we have lift off!

Projectile Motion

Classical mechanics lies at the heart of physics! You should have already met Newton's laws and the resulting equations of motion in your studies and will revisit them in the Foundations of Physics module. Here we use a simple projectile launcher as shown in Figure 1 to investigate the motion of a particle in two dimensions under constant acceleration, in this case gravity. 

However, experimental physics is about much more than just making a measurement; the resulting value is not of much use without an estimate of how precisely the measurement has been made. In this experiment we also introduce you to some simple but powerful ideas about how to quantify the uncertainties in your experimental data. This particularly illustrates the occurrence of random errors and how to deal with them.  

In performing this experiment, you will be working in small teams, approximately four students. One of the tasks in the laboratory is about managing how to gather and analyse experimental results as a team. During this session you will predict and measure the range of a small steel ball launched by a mini-launcher, which is a simple device designed to project the ball in a reproducible way. 

Current students can find more information on Learn Ultra. 

In this session you will have

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