Amusement Park Accelerometers
Name: Nils S.
I am doing the amusement park physics in May at Six Flags
in NJ. I need to prepare the measurement devices and have seen the ones
offered by Pasco. Any ideas of how to make my own or get plans to make
them. Just wondering if you had a Amusement park guru around that now's a
$$ saving option. Thanks
Nils "Strapped for Cash" S.
The Pasco kit gives 15 sets for little money.
The horizontal accelerometer is a protractor with a suspended weight. What
Pasco (and Ron DeFronzo and I) did was to put the "weight" (copper shot) in
a plastic tube to reduce wind resistance.
For a vertical accelerometer, you can use a spring with a mass and
calibrate it according to Hooke's Law. We used a fishing weight on a
spring (getting the right spring is extremely difficult) inside of a
String works well for a baseline measurement.
Per student, an entire kit is just a few dollars. You may wish to add that
cost to the field trip cost and let them fabricate and keep their
As far as "plans", look at the Amusement Park Physics book (2nd edition)
published by J. Weston Walch or the Amusement Park Physics book (escobar)
published by AAPT.
Click here to return to the Physics Archives
Update: June 2012