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Al Tobias (wat4y) - Office: Gibson S123 & Physics 218, (434) 924-0538

Physics Demo Manual

Demonstrations are cataloged according to PIRA Bibliography


Due to Physics Building renovations, the lead time to set up demo requests has increased due to the need to transport equipment across campus. Please be kind and let me know well ahead of time what you need.

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 Motion In One Dimension
 Motion In Two Dimensions
 Angular Displacement
  video  - Spinning Tray
 Centripetal Force
 Spinning Chain
 Centripetal Acceleration
 Rotational Dynamics
  video  - Ballistics Cart
  video  - Shoot and Drop
 Projectile Motion II
  video  - The Monkey and the Hunter
  video  - Range Gun
 Newton's First Law
 Newton's Second Law
 Newton's Third Law
 Statics Of Rigid Bodies
 Applications Of Newton's Laws
 Work and Energy
 Rotational Motion
 Properties of Matter

 video  - Ballistics Cart


"Relativity Cart" Shoot Up & Drop In Moving Cart - to show that vertical motion in a moving inertial reference frame is curved motion when viewed from a stationary reference frame.


We have three versions of this demo. The PASCO Ballistics Cart, the Arbor Scientific Ballistics Car and our original in-house built relativity car. When requesting this demo, you will get the PASCO Ballistics Cart by default (two such setups in stock).

1. PASCO Ballistic Cart: Level aluminum PASCO track on lecture hall bench with foam-wood barrier clamped to far end to prevent track/cart from falling off edge. The Ballistic Cart Accessory contains a trigger (ball launcher photogate). Verify photogate is aligned with trip bracket. First turn on switch, then insert ball into launcher and press down. Cart is now armed and ready for demo. Here are three possible senarios: PASCO Relativity Cart on Track

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  Normal Speed Horizontal - DEMO VIDEO DOWNLOAD  

  Slow Motion Horizontal - DEMO VIDEO DOWNLOAD  

ROLLING DOWN INCLINED PLANE - with single 10cm block to tilt track

  Slow Motion Inclined Plane - DEMO VIDEO DOWNLOAD  

ACCELERATING ON HORIZONTAL PLANE - 2.16m string, 100g mass, pulley

  Slow Motion Accelerating - DEMO VIDEO DOWNLOAD  

PASCO Relativity Cart PASCO Relativity Track Trip Bracket

2. Arbor Scientific Ballistics Car: This car rolls on its own wheels independent of a track. The steel ball bearing is launched from its canon via a pull-string.

Arbor Scientific Ballistics Car

3. Original In-house Relativity Car: Place the track on the lecture table and level. The ball bearing is loaded by pushing it all the way down and locking it in place with the small trigger on the bottom of the car. With the ball bearing pushed in with the loading stick, reach under the car and pull the trigger forward until it catches. The firing mechanism should be adjusted so it will catch the trigger when the car passes over it. Some practice is required to get the speed right as it does not work too well when going too fast or slow.

Original In-house Relativity Car


Use the PASCO Ballistic Cart setup for best results.


  • Ball bearing
  • Loading Stick
  • Relatvity car
  • Large Iron Track