Experiment 1 Studying F = MA with a full shopping cart.
The first thing we need is something with lots of mass.
It should be on wheels to allow it to move easily. A full shopping
cart in a food store works out pretty well. The next time you go shopping
notice the following.
1) To move the cart it is necessary to give it a hard push to
get it moving . This is because the cart starts from zero velocity
and it requires a force to change this velocity of zero to a more useful
2) Notice that once we have the cart moving it will continue to
move with only a small force applied. This is the force to
overcome the drag of the wheels.
3) To stop the cart a large force must be applied to slow it down.
This is acceleration in a backwards direction or deceleration.
3) If we are pushing it and simply let go it will continue to
move until the friction of the wheels slow it down.
4) If we attempt to apply a constant pushing force then the cart
will accelerate and it will continue to move faster and faster.
As long as we apply a consistent force the velocity will continue
to increase and we may have to run to keep up with it.
5) For a exercise in advanced shopping cart theory it is
possible to simulate a satellite in orbit.
All that is required is to attain a medium velocity and then apply a constant
force in a direction that is always perpendicular to the direction of the
cart. The result will be no increase in the speed of the cart
but a continuos change in direction which causes the cart to travel in a
I suggest that the reader can get a initial feel of mass, acceleration
and force by doing the above at the next opportunity. Obviously stay
clear of other shoppers when trying these experiments.
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