Teaching Physics with the Physics Suite

Edward F. Redish

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Graph for a cart on a tilted airtrack -- with spring

The graph below shows the velocity graph of a cart moving on an air track as shown in the figure on the right. The track has a spring at one end and has its other end raised. The cart is started sliding up the track by pressing it against the spring and releasing it. The clock is started just as the cart leaves the spring. Take the direction the cart is moving in initially to be the positive x direction and take the bottom of the spring to be the origin.

Letters point to six points on the velocity curve. For the physical situations described below, identify which of the letters corresponds to the situation described. You may use each letter more than once, more than one letter may be used for each answer, or none may be appropriate. If none is appropriate, put the letter N.

  1. This point occurs when the cart is at its highest point on the track.
  2. At this point, the cart is instantaneously not moving.
  3. This is a point when the cart is in contact with the spring.
  4. At this point, the cart is moving down the track toward the origin.
  5. At this point, the cart has acceleration of zero.

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Page last modified October 15, 2002: K11