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Posted by on Sunday, January 17, 2010 at 6:38pm.

A student wants to run an experiment to determine how the distribution of mass (location of mass) affects an object`s rotational velocity. For this experiment the student picks 3 rings. One is a wood ring (like a hula-hoop) with all of its mass at the outer edge (A). The next is a ring that has its mass even distributed over the entire right (B). The third ring is a combination of the first two -it has not mass at its center, but the ring is much wider than the first (hula-hoop) ring (C),
Each of the three rings has a different mass and a different diameter.
The students results show that ring A (the hula-hoop) makes it down the ramp the fastest every time and concludes that it must have the highest rotational velocity and the lowest rotational inertia. You know a thing or two about rotational inertia, rotational velocity, and experiments and know that this sounds fishy.
a. What is it about this experiment that might lead the student to draw these incorrect conclusions?
(Describe all things about the experiment that might be flawed)
b. What relationship was the student trying to find?
c. Write a hypothesis for this experiment that addresses the initial question the student tried to investigate.
d. Describe which variable would be the independent variable and why,
e. Describe which variable would be the dependent variable and why.
f. This experiment should have several variables that are kept constant. Name as many constants as possible.

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