# Core Practical 10: Investigating Collisions using ICT(Edexcel International A Level Physics)

Author

Joanna

Expertise

Physics

## Core Practical 10: Investigating Collisions using ICT

#### Aims of the Experiment

• To investigate conservation of momentum in two directions
• Considering if collisions are elastic
• Constructing a diagram of 2D collisions
• Use of ICT software is required
• 'Tracker' is recommended by Edexcel

#### Equipment List

• Small spheres
• Of two different diameters (ball bearings are ideal)
• Digital camera able to record video
• Support to allow it to be positioned directly above the collision
• Computer with Tracker installed
• 30 cm ruler
• Micrometer or calipers
• Balance
• Graph paper

#### Method

1. Measure the mass of the spheres using the balance and record

2. Measure the diameter of the spheres using a micrometer or Vernier calipers

3. Mark an approximately central point on the graph paper

• This will be where the stationary sphere is placed

4. Start the camera recording

5. Within the area of the graph paper, roll a sphere into the stationary one

6. Replace the stationary sphere in its initial place and repeat the experiment up to three times

• A slightly different angle of approach should be used for each collision

7. Download the video file from the camera to the computer that runs Tracker

• Load the clip into the program.

#### Analysing the Results

• Use Tracker to analyse the video clips.
• Input the mass and diameter of each sphere when prompted
• Use the ‘velocity overlay’ feature so that the software can analyse velocities
• The Tracker software allows for frame-by-frame analysis of the movement of the spheres
• Orientate the axes to make the velocity of the moving ball along one of the axes
• Record the momentum of each ball as indicated in Tracker

• Construct a vector diagram from the results

#### Evaluating the Experiment

• ICT is used in this experiment because
• The events happen to swiftly for the unaided eye to take readings
• ICT generally provides more precise and reliable data

Systematic errors:

• Parallax error from camera to the table
• The precision of the balance may give a wide range of possible values for mass
• If possible use a more precise balance
• The spheres may have damage
• Check there is no damage to the surface of each sphere before using
• The Tracker axes may not be correctly aligned when analysing

Random errors:

• The collision event may happen between frames
• From variations in the table surface
• This could cause loss or gain of kinetic energy due to friction or slopes
• The sphere may not travel far enough to hit the second stationary sphere
• Discard this result and release with greater initial velocity

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### Author:Joanna

Joanna obtained her undergraduate degree in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University and completed her MSc in Education at Loughborough University. After a decade of teaching and leading the physics department in a high-performing academic school, Joanna now mentors new teachers and is currently studying part-time for her PhD at Leicester University. Her passions are helping students and learning about cool physics, so creating brilliant resources to help with exam preparation is her dream job!