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A cart on a smooth horizontal track is allowed to move back forth between bumpers while its position is recorded as a function of time using a motion detector. The computer displays the corresponding distance-time, velocity-time and acceleration-time graphs.

Directions: Before attempting this demonstration, you should consult with the lecture-demo technician on how to set up the software for measurement. When the computer is in the measurement mode, push the cart gently and record its motion for about 10 s. Friction will be evident in the motion after about 4s, so if you wish to avoid this effect, stop the recording after about 2-3 s. [See sample graph below.]

Suggestions for Presentation: Although students will likely predict accurately what the velocity-time graph will look like for uniform velocity, ask what the distance-time and acceleration-time graphs will look like, both in the constant speed portion and when the cart changes direction.

Applications: None

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