Physics Dept. Demonstration Manual

DRD 02.1 - Rolling Cylinders

Objective:
  • To show that the acceleration of a solid cylinder rolling down a ramp is independent of the cylinder mass and radius.
  • To show that a tin of condensed mushroom soup rolling down a ramp has a much smaller acceleration that a tin of chicken broth.
 
Apparatus:

 
  • low slope ramp (about 0.3 m wide, 0.9 m long and 0.06 m rise)
  • two solid aluminum cylinders of different diameter, length and mass
  • tin of condensed mushroom soup
  • tin of chicken broth


Note:

Both soup tins are the same mass and size. However the mushroom soup has a very viscous paste consistency whereas the chicken broth is much like water in consistency.

 

Method:

Aluminum Cylinders

Let the class decide which of the two cylinder is expected to accelerate faster down the slope.

Place the two cylinders at the top of the ramp, align them so that they will roll straight down the ramp , then release them simultaneously. Relate the results to the expectations.

Soup Derby

Identify the can contents to the class and have the class discuss the expected relative rolling accelerations.

Place the two cans at the top of the ramp, align them so that they will roll straight down the ramp , then release them simultaneously. Relate the results to the expectations.

Note:

See also demonstrations DRD2 and DLD19.