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October 25th, 2015

Physics Laboratory 1 Torque


Martin Sun
Purpose
The purposes of this laboratory were to:
-

observe the effects of distance on torque;


observe the effects of force on torque; and
observe the effects of angle on torque.

Materials and Methods


The materials used in this laboratory were:
-

string;
a metre stick;
various masses; and
spring scales.

Hypothesis
Part 1
It is hypothesized that a force greater distance from the fulcrum or pivot point will
require less force than a one with less distance from the fulcrum to balance a beam (ruler). This
is because when swinging a door, it is much easier to exert force on the edge instead of near the
hinges.
Part 2
It is hypothesized that an angle less than 90 degrees requires more force to balance a ruler
as due to prior studies in component forces, an angle not perpendicular to the beam will cause a
horizontal component force, which has no effect on the rotational force.
Part 3
It is hypothesized that the spring scale closest to the mass will exert a higher force for the
same reason as in Part 1; a force farther away from the fulcrum requires less force to balance the
beam.
Part 4

It is hypothesized that the lower the angle, the more force is required from the spring
scales to hold the ruler. This is due to the same reason as in Part 3.
Observations
Part 1
To begin Part 1 of the experiment, a metre stick was obtained and hung from the ceiling
using string. The ruler was tied to the string at the 50 centimetre mark to balance it. Masses of
1.0 kg and 0.2 kg were obtained. The masses were hung on the metre stick using string. The
masses were hung at various distances away from the centre of the ruler. The 0.2 kg mass was
hung 0.35 m, 0.30 m, and 0.25 m from the centre of the ruler, and the 1.0 kg mass was hung on
the opposite side of the ruler at distances to balance it. The distances from the centre of the ruler
were measured. Table 1 below summarizes the data.
Table 1. Summary of the distances from the centre of the ruler for the two masses to maintain
equilibrium.
Mass (kg)
Radius (m)

0.2
0.35
0.30
0.25

1.0
0.07
0.06
0.05

It can be directly concluded from this data that a lower mass but at a farther distance from
the fulcrum can have the same rotational force as a higher mass closer to the fulcrum.
Part 2
To begin Part 2 of the experiment, two spring scales were obtained and attached to the
metre stick used in Part 1. One spring scale was attached to each end of the metre stick. The
spring scales were then pulled by two people at either 90 degrees or 45 degrees from the ruler
horizontal. The 90 degree spring scale was pulled at 5, 8 and 10 Newtons and the 45 degree
spring scale was pulled at the appropriate force to balance the ruler. Table 2 below summarizes
these forces.
Table 2. Summary of the forces required to maintain the metre stick at equilibrium.
Degree

90

45
2

Force (N)

5
8
10

7
11
14

It can be directly concluded that an angle of 45 degrees requires more force to balance the
force from 90 degrees.
Part 3
To begin Part 3 of the experiment, a metre stick was obtained and hung from the wall
using spring scales. A 1 kg mass was hung at various points on the metre stick and the forces on
the spring scales were recorded. The spring scales were hung 5 cm from the ends of the ruler.
Figure 1. Diagram of the layout for the experiment.

Table 3 below summarizes this data.

Table 3. Summary of the forces two spring scales exerted on the ruler to maintain equilibrium.
Force Right
5
6

Force Left
5
4

Distance Right (m)


0.45
0.35
3

Distance Left (m)


0.45
0.55

7
8

3
2

0.25
0.15

0.65
0.75

It can be directly concluded that as the distance from the mass increases, less force is
required to balance the ruler.
Part 4
To begin Part 4 of the experiment, the metre stick was hung from the ceiling using spring
scales 5 cm from the ends, however the spring scales were shifted outward, creating different
angles. The angles were at 80, 70, 60, 50, 40, and 30 degrees and the forces were recorded from
the spring scales. A 0.5 kg mass was hung in the middle of the ruler. Table 4 below summarizes
this data.
Table 4. Summary of the data for force from the two spring scales with varying angles.
Angle ()
80
70
60
50
40
30

Force Left (N)


2.9
3
3.2
3.5
4.4
5.8

Force Right (N)


3
3
3.2
3.5
4.5
5.9

Results
Part 1
For this part of the experiment, the ruler had no net rotational force, meaning no net
torque as the ruler remained unmoving. Therefore, the torque exerted by the 1 kg and 0.2 kg
masses should be equal. Torque is given by the equation:
1.

=Frsin
4

Since in this part, the degree was 90 and the force was perpendicular to the ruler, sin can
be omitted as it equals 1. The torque is calculated in Table 4 below.
Table 5. Summary of the calculations for deriving torque.

Case 1
Case 2
Case 3

Mass (kg)
0.20
1.00
0.20
1.00
0.20
1.00

Radius (m)
0.25
0.05
0.30
0.06
0.35
0.07

Calculation
0.20*9.8*0.25
1.00*9.8*0.05
0.20*9.8*0.30
1.00*9.8*0.06
0.20*9.8*0.35
1.00*9.8*0.07

Result (Nm)
0.49
0.49
0.59
0.59
0.69
0.69

As can be seen in Table 4, the torque on both sides are equal, but opposite direction,
which results in no net torque. This was why the metre stick was balanced; there was no net
torque on the system, and therefore no rotational acceleration. Figure 2 below shows the
relationship between the radii of the two masses.
0.4
0.35
0.3
0.25

0.20 kg Radii

0.2
0.15
0.1
0.05
0
0.05

0.05

0.06

0.06

0.07

0.07

0.08

1.00 kg Radii

Figu
re 2. Graph of the relationship between the radius of the 1 kg mass and 0.2 kg mass.

The relationship is clearly a linear relationship. The slope of this line is five, the
proportion between 0.2 kg and 1 kg. This graph verifies that the hypothesis is correct the 1 kg
mass will require less radius, 5 times less to equate the torque of the 0.2 kg mass as the slope is
greater than 1, and therefore, the y value will always be greater than the x value at each point.
Part 2
For Part 2 of the experiment, the angles of the force from the spring scales were varied.
Angles of 45 and 90 degrees were used and forces were steadily increased. The torque on the
ruler can be calculated using Formula 1, and the distances are 0.5 metres as the spring scales
were attached to the ends of the metre stick. Table 5 below summarizes the calculations.

Table 6. Summary of the calculations for deriving the torque on the ruler. The distance is 0.5m.

Case 1
Case 2
Case 3

Degree
90
45
90
45
90
45

Force (N)
5.0
7.0
8.0
11
10
14

Calculation
5.0*0.5*sin90
7.0*0.5*sin45
8.0*0.5*sin90
11*0.5*sin45
10*0.5*sin90
14*0.5*sin45

Result (Nm)
2.5
2.5
4.0
3.9
5.0
4.9

As can be seen, the torques for each case are again, very similar. These torques are acting
also in opposite direction and so the torque is negated and the net torque for each system is close
to none. The sine relationship is used as the vertical component of force is the only component
contributing to the torque. Figure 3 below shows this relationship.

16
14
12
10

45 degree Force (N)

8
6
4
2
0

10

11

90 degree Force (N)

Fi
gure 3. Graph of the relationship between forces for 45 degrees and 90 degrees.

The slope of this graph is the value of csc45, the reciprocal of sin45 as the torque
incorporates sin45 in the equation for the 45 degree spring scale. Therefore, the 90 degree force
will always be csc45 times less than the 45 degree force. The equation is:
F 45 sin 45=F 90

2.

Since the graph has the equation:


3.

y=mx +b

4.

F 45=F90 / sin 45

5.

F 45=csc 45 F 90
Since the slope is greater than 1, the y value will always be greater. Therefore, a force not

perpendicular to the ruler produces less torque than that of the same force but perpendicular to
the ruler.
Part 3

Part 3 of the experiment was similar to that of Part 1. One 1 kg mass was shifted through
the ruler, creating different radii for the two spring scales. Since the net torque remained constant
as the ruler remained still, and the distances changed for both spring scales, the forces must have
changed. The torques can be calculated.
Table 7. Summary of the calculations for deriving torque.
Side

Radius

Force (N)

Calculation

Result

(m)
(Nm)
Case 1
Right
0.45
5.0
0.45*5.0
2.3
Left
0.45
5.0
0.45*5.0
2.3
Case 2
Right
0.35
6.3
0.35*6.3
2.2
Left
0.55
3.9
0.55*3.9
2.1
Case 3
Right
0.25
7.3
0.25*7.3
1.8
Left
0.65
2.8
0.65*2.8
1.8
Case 4
Right
0.15
8.9
0.15*8.9
1.3
Left
0.75
1.8
0.75*5.0
1.4
It can be seen that for each case, the torque is very similar, with slight differences,
possibly due to misreading with the spring scales. This is because the net torque was close to
none, as the ruler did not have rotational acceleration. Adding the right and left forces also brings
a similar value of 9.8 N, the weight of the 1 kg mass.
Part 4
Similar to in Part 2, the forces from the spring scales steadily increased as the angle
decreased. This is because, only the vertical component of the force is used to generate torque,
and with smaller angles, the vertical component is less. The torque can be calculated.
Table 8. Summary of the calculations for deriving torque. The radius is 0.45 metres.
Angle ()

Side

Force (N)

Calculation

Result

80

Right
Left
Right
Left
Right
Left
Right
Left

3.0
2.9
3.0
3.0
3.2
3.2
3.5
3.5

3.0*sin80*0.45
2.9*sin80*0.45
3.0*sin70*0.45
3.0*sin70*0.45
3.2*sin60*0.45
3.2*sin60*0.45
3.5*sin50*0.45
3.5*sin50*0.45

(Nm)
1.3
1.3
1.3
1.3
1.2
1.2
1.2
1.2

70
60
50

40

Right
Left
Right
Left

30

4.5
4.4
5.9
5.8

4.5*sin40*0.45
4.4*sin40*0.45
5.9*sin30*0.45
5.8*sin30*0.45

1.3
1.3
1.3
1.3

It can be directly seen from this data that a decrease in angle increases the force of the
spring scales. All the torque values are very similar in value. This verifies that the hypothesis is
correct lowering the angle does increase the force on the spring scales. The torque remained the
same as the vertical component of force remained the same.
Conclusion
In this laboratory, two variables in torque were investigated: angle and radius. By
applying force of different angles to metre sticks, it was found that lower angled forces required
more force to generate the same torque as that of a perpendicular force. By varying the distance
from the centre or fulcrum in which force was applied, it was found that a force with greater
distance from the fulcrum generated more torque than a force closer to the fulcrum.