Tangential Velocity and Circular Motion Experiment
Velocity is the rate of change of an object involving both its speed and direction of motion. You are probably already familiar with speed, which is how fast or slow an object is going. The speedometers in cars tell drivers how many miles or kilometers they would cover in an hour if they drove at the same rate for the entire time. Drivers and objects are constantly changing their speed, however. When the driver presses his foot down on the gas pedal, the car accelerates. Acceleration is when an object changes its velocity. You might feel pushed back into your seat. Any influence that causes an object to undergo a change is called a force. When a driver suddenly hits the brakes, you experience deceleration. When you are being driven along at a constant speed, you don’t feel any kind of acceleration. Your stomach is the best indicator of whether you are experiencing acceleration or not. Too many changes in velocity can make you carsick.
Before you go to an amusement park, you should understand circular motion, especially if you get motion sickness. The velocity you experience during circular motion is called tangential velocity. Many of the spinning rides involve acceleration and force. The kind of force you’ll often feel at an amusement park is centripetal force, which is the force that makes a body follow a curved path. This experiment will allow you to investigate circular motion at home, without getting into a Tilt-A-Whirl.
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