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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
 Newton's First Law
 Newton's Second Law
 Newton's Third Law
 Statics Of Rigid Bodies
 Applications Of Newton's Laws
 Work and Energy
 Egg in a Sheet
 Reaction Cars
  video  - Ballistics on Air Track
 Ballistic Pendulum
 Fire Extinguisher Rocket Cart
 Water Rocket
 Rocket Tricycle
 Methanol Rocket (Explode a Milk Jug)
 Match Rocket
  video  - 2-Liter Bottle Rocket
  video  - Hovercraft
  video  - Air Track Collisions
  video  - Newton's Cradle Collisions
  video  - Battering Ram Collisions
 Gauss Gun - Elastic and Inelastic Collisions
  video  - Double Ball Bounce
  video  - Air Table Collisions
 Rotational Motion
 Properties of Matter

 video  - Ballistics on Air Track


To accurately measure the velocity of an air gun pellet.


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  DEMO VIDEO DOWNLOAD - HD - 1920x1080 / 27.4Mbps - 281MB size  

  DEMO VIDEO DOWNLOAD - LD - 854x480 / 5.69Mbps - 67MB size  

Set up a PASCO photogate on the air track and connect it to the interface. Place cart with sponge on air track roughly 1/2 meter before in front of the photogate. Load pellet gun, pump 10 times and fire into sponge making sure the barrel is at least 8 inches away from the sponge and is level. Note speed of travel thru the photogate. Mass of .177 caliber "Crosman Copperhead" pellet = 0.51 gram.


The air track cart with sponge increases in mass with use. The pellets' masses add up. Therefore, be sure to measure the mass of the cart before performing demo.

  • M = 475.3g   m = 0.50g (Sep 21, 2020)


  • Timer Counter
  • 2 Universal Photogate Cell
  • Air Track
  • Carbon dioxide gun
  • Glider with sponge apparatus to catch pellet
  • Pellets