PHYS310 Lab 11 Center of Mass

Physics 310 Experiment 11 - Center of Mass

Tutorial includes complete laboratory (including methods and materials, experimental data, full explanations, and diagrams) with the following questions answered:

Experiment 1: Identifying the Center of Mass Questions

1. Explain why the figure below does not represent a realistic object and center of mass.

2. For most circumstances, the terms “center of mass” and “center of gravity” refer to the same point in space. Can you think of any situations where using the term “center of gravity” might not make sense?

3. Find the position of the center of mass in Figure 3 with the following information: m1 = m2 = 3 kg, m3 = 5 kg, x1 = 2 m, x2 = -2 m, x3= -3 m. Copy the figure below and draw in the center of mass as point CM.

4. Why is it important for the lemurs below (Figure 5) to have such long tails? What kind of environments are animals like these suited for?

Experiment 2: “Gravity-defying” Utensils Questions

1. Draw a top view of the utensils, and mark where the center of mass is located.

2. Does the arrangement really defy gravity? Describe what is happening in terms of the center of mass.

Experiment 3: Stability A Questions

1. When did the blocks typically fall over?

2. Which stack of blocks (3 or 4) had a lower center of mass? Which set tipped over at the largest angle?

3. If you were building a skyscraper in a windy city, where would you want most of the building’s weight to be located?

Experiment 4: Stability B Questions

Table 1: Tilt angle where filled bottle becomes unstable

1. Draw a rough diagram for each case showing the placement of the center of mass (point CM) and the maximum angle of the bottle reached.

2. Explain why you were able to tilt the bottle more in some cases more than others.

3. How soon do you think the bottle would tip over if you would fill only the top half?

Experiment 5: Irregular shapes Questions

1. How is the mass distributed on either side of the pin as the object hangs?

2. Why does this method work? (Hint: explain why the plumb line allows you to find the center of mass about different axes.)

3. What does the point where the three lines intersect represent?

4. Is the third line necessary to find the center of mass?


PHYS310 Lab 11 Center of Mass
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