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MAE 3113

Lab Section 7

Acceleration Debate

This Report Prepared by: Mesha Ham

Due Date: Feb. 8th, 2013 Date Submitted: Feb. 8th, 2013

Problem Statement The issue that needs to be deciphered is as follows: two students are discussing the motion of a ball that is thrown straight up into the air. One student says that the acceleration at the highest point is zero; the other student says that it is not zero. With two statements being made, student one saying that the ball has acceleration when it reaches maximum height, and student two saying that the ball does not have acceleration, a decision has to be made as to which one is correct. Through discussion and charts it will be shown student one is correct, because there is acceleration at the balls highest point.

Discussion and Results When thinking about a ball travelling up and then falling back down all of the forces acting on the ball must be taken into account. There is the initial force that accounts for the velocity of the ball when it is released, and acceleration due to gravity. Now the assumption is going to be made that there is no air resistance. Since these are the only forces, one must begin to evaluate the information that is known. As time continues, velocity begins to decrease due to gravity working against it, until velocity equals zero. Even though the velocity at the highest point is zero, acceleration is not. This is due to gravitational acceleration mentioned earlier; this acceleration is constant, and therefore is the same even at the peak of the balls height. This understanding can be backed up by these equations:

Y= vertical displacement Viy= initial velocity in the y direction Vfy= final velocity in the y direction Ay= gravitational acceleration (-9.81m/s2) T= time

Eq. 1 Eq. 2 Eq. 3 Figure 1: Kinematic Equations

The first equation in Figure 1 shows that the vertical height is equal to the initial velocity *time+ *(-9.81m/s2)*time2. This shows how to find the vertical height. These equations can be interchanged to find different variables, but it should be easy to tell how this coincides with the understanding that the acceleration at the height of the peak would not be zero. If someone were to plot the vertical displacement, velocity, and acceleration of the ball as it travels up and then back down to the ground, the graphs would look like the ones below.

The first graph is discussing how the vertical displacement, height, versus time. As time progresses, the height increases until it reaches its peak, and then decreases as it approaches its starting position.

Figure 2

This second graph is a derivative of the first. It shows the decrease in velocity as time goes on. The point where you see the line cross the t axis is where velocity equals zero and the ball reaches its peak height.

Figure 3

The graph following velocity is the acceleration graph, and it shows a constant acceleration the entire time! If acceleration is g=gravity= (-9.81m/s2) then there is no way that the ball could have zero acceleration at its peak.
Figure 4

Conclusion The previous graphs and equations show and prove that as long as the ball is thrown vertically here on earth, there will be acceleration at the highest point. The evidence within this document and the infinite resources online makes the answer clear. It seems that if both students took courses in physics or dynamics then they would understand and realize that it does not make sense for acceleration to be zero at the peak. For the incorrect student, I hope that they will do research on the subject or at least read this paper.

References Figure 1: Kinematic Equations http://www.physicsclassroom.com/class/vectors/u3l2f.cfm Figure 2-4: Graphs for free-fall http://cnx.org/content/m39546/1.1/?collection=col11244/latest Summary

At the end of your paper you are to write a brief summary covering the overall lessons learned from both the writing exercise and use of peer reviews. If you find that you have made little to no changes in your draft and final version, you must address this in the summary.